DCDC ARTISTIC LEADERSHIP
DEBBIE BLUNDEN-DIGGS, Chief Artistic Administrator & Producing Director
Daughter of company founder Jeraldyne Blunden, at age five Debbie Blunden-Diggs began training at the Schwarz School of the Dance. She joined Dayton Contemporary Dance Company at twelve and won national recognition for her choreography by seventeen. The Young Choreographers Showcase selected her first piece Variations in Blue for inclusion in the National Choreographic Plan, which made the dance available to companies across the country.
During her 40 plus years with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Blunden-Diggs appeared in most of the company's repertoire, including principal roles like the Mother in Eleo Pomare’s Las Desenamoradas and the Madame in Donald McKayle’s District Storyville. Blunden-Digg’s choreography for Dayton Contemporary Dance Company has spanned two decades. Her notable works include No Room, No Place, No Where for which she received a Monticello Award in 1982, Variations in Blue, Night Phases, Silent Echos, Configurations, Kaliedascope, Fragments, In My Father’s House and Traffic.
Blunden-Diggs is the Executive Director of Jeraldyne’s School of the Dance, the cornerstone of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. She also works closely with the pre-professional company DCDC2. In 1990, Blunden-Diggs was appointed Associate Artistic Director, and in 2003 she became Deputy Director for Arts and Operations. In 2007, Blunden-Diggs became the company’s Artistic Director.
CRYSTAL MICHELLE, Associate Artistic Director
CRYSTAL MICHELLE is a choreographer, dancer and intermedia artist. She was appointed Associate Artistic Director of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company in 2014. Previous to her appointment, she was a dance artist with the company’s pre-professional ensemble, DCDC2. She then joined the first company for nine seasons, becoming Resident Choreographer, and appointed Arts Curriculum Coordinator in 2010 for DCDC’s education programs. As coordinator, Ms. Michelle became integral to the design of Dancing to the Curriculum, a highly recognized arts-integration education dance residency for elementary and middle school students in Dayton Public Schools. Over the years, she has taught dance master classes and was a teaching artist for the company’s outreach services. As a choreographer, performer, and researcher she has traveled nationally and internationally, including Ougadougou, Burkina Faso, and Port of Spain, Trinidad, where she researched African Diaspora movement styles and began her newest venture: “The Beautiful Archive Project.” Ms. Michelle has collaborated with Dayton’s Blackbird String Quartet, University of Dayton’s Department of Music, and the Khalid Moss Jazz Trio for the creation of Unrested and Unfaithful.” She set choreography to “The King of the Magi” and Martin Luther King” from Duke Ellington’s “Three Black Kings” performed by the dance company and accompanied by Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra in collaboration with The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance’s production of “American Mosaic in 2015. Ms. Michelle has created dance for Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Cutno Dance, SMAG Dance Collective, and Stivers School for the Arts Dance Ensemble. She has been a guest artist for New Orleans Ballet Association/NOLA, the Augusta Ballet Company, Compton Dance Theatre, The Moving Architects, and SMAG Dance Collective.
QARRIANNE BLAYR, Associate Artistic Director
QARRIANNE BLAYR earned her BFA degree at Howard University, studying under Sherrill Berryman-Johnson, Pat Thomas, Sandra Fortune-Green, Katherine Smith, Akua Kouyate and Assane Konte. She also studied traditional Jamaican dance at University of West Indies at Mona.
In 2004, Ms. Blayr founded the performing arts group Arts International. She joined DCDC’s first company in 2012 after having performed for two seasons in DCDC2, the company’s pre-professional ensemble.
Of the choreographers she has worked with, Sherrill Berryman-Johnson has been the most influential in helping her become a “moving/ thinking vessel.”
Her favorite DCDC repertory piece to perform is Amen Corner of the dance concert Body Talk.