The proclamation recognized the dance company at the top of its 48th year for the recent reception of its second Bessie Award. The Tony or Oscar of the dance world, the prestigious, highly-coveted Bessie can only be awarded to companies performing in New York, and rarely does it go to a company based outside of New York, DCDC Artistic Director Debbie Blunden-Diggs told commissioners Wednesday night.
The 2016 Bessie Award for the outstanding revival of Donald McKayle 1959 work Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder is the second such accolade for DCDC. In 1997, veteran DCDC dancer Sheri “Sparkle” Williams received a Bessie award for outstanding performance by a solo artist.
Only five dance companies are licensed to perform McKayle’s iconic work, which depicts life on a chain gang in the American South. McKayle personally selected DCDC to perform the piece, cited by critics as “searingly resonant,” on NYC’s Lincoln Center stage in March.
The award-winning choreography will hit the Dayton stage this spring as part of the lineup for Vantage Points, which will be performed on the Victoria Theatre stage March 4 & 5.
The commissioners DCDC proclamation Wednesday night also recognized the history and impact of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, founded in 1968 by Jeraldyne Blunden to create an opportunity for African American dancers denied access to other studios.
Ohio’s oldest modern dance company, DCDC houses the world’s largest collections of works created by African American choreographers.
DCDC has represented the City of Dayton across the globe through performances in Bermuda, China, Chile, France, Poland, Russia, Germany and South Korea.