Dayton Contemporary Dance Company's Education Outreach Philosophy

Dance is a tool for experiential learning. Dayton Contemporary Dance Company's arts-integrated creative movement instruction techniques link classroom curriculum in new ways by focusing on the physical, mental, spiritual & emotional needs of each student. We reach approximately 30,000 students per year through this education outreach.


Abby and Friends Adventure Series: The Birthday Party
(Grades K – 2)


Take a trip to Abby’s 8th birthday party at the library and reinforce children’s emerging learning. Abby is turning 8 years old and she is having a birthday party at her favorite place to be, at the library, because Abby loves to read, read, and read some more.


Nana Akua Goes to School

(Grades 3 – 4)


Students learn about, appreciate, and celebrate our differences. Inspired by the words and meaning behind the children’s book “Nana Akua Goes to School” by Tricia Elam Walker, DCDC dance artists use expressive movement to translate, and tell this moving story that celebrates cultural diversity. Zura, a shy girl brings her West African grandmother to Grandparents Day at school to share what makes her special.


(Grades K – 12) 

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company's PreK - 12 residencies include three or more visits to your school. Residencies are tailored to students' needs and can include classroom workshops, after-school or summer enrichment programs, and in-school performances.


(Grades K – 12)

Offered as a single workshop or residency

Dance + Learning engages students’ in interactive art & academic content.  




Experience the joys of health and wellness with a creative twist combining low impact aerobics with contemporary dance.


Diaspora Dances


Rhythms, Beats, Body Percussion and Movement


If you are searching for a way to engage your physical body and your creative brain as you access your expressive voice, this is the workshop for you. Explore the multi-faceted worlds of polyrhythm, body awareness, as an instrument of expression.

Neo Traditional West African Dance and Song


Explore the West Africa dances and songs of Jolidon and Mandiani discovering the polyrhythms and roundedness of the movement.  Participants engage in the call and response exercises with songs like “Ye, Jailiyaa, Alla le ye ka jaliyaa da,” that create a communal environment central to traditional and contemporary African culture.


Get Up and Dance


Explore fundamental dance styles and concepts for early learners to senior to engage in the physical, spiritual, and visceral experience of movement expression.


Concentrations in either African, ballet, creative movement, choreography, contemporary, DCDC Fit, hip hop, jazz, modern (contemporary modern or Horton-based, and repertory. 


Nature Dances: The patterns, shapes, colors and feelings of the world (Grades K – 2)


Teaching artists will use creative movement concepts to explore nature and weather through movement. Through creative play and exploration as well as guided improvisation students are asked to draw inspiration from the world around them.


Num3r8ations:  an exploration of space, rhythms and patterns (Grades 3 – 4)


Students are introduced to choreography from Debbie Blunden Diggs’ dance work Num3r8ations that uses unique counting patterns within the music and dance. Students will explore the use of space, patterns, time and rhythm, as well as experiment with choreographic elements of dance.


Professional Development


These teacher development workshops will provide strategies for arts integrated learning where educators can think outside the box and sharpen their creative thinking tools.


Symbolic Expressions (Grades 3 – 6) 


Like any language communication can be conveyed through both verbal and non-verbal means. Students will explore the Adinkra symbols which originated in West African Culture.  Participants will examine and interpret meanings, actions, and the emotions of the images. This workshop will focus on three key characters: Ahoden – energy and strength, Bese Saka - power and unity, and Adwo - peace and calmness as they experience another culture while discovering awareness of expression.

The Art of Denaturation: (Grades 6 -12)


Denaturation is a process that makes a marked change in form, nature, or appearance. The change in shape causes the body to function differently, therefore, changing its natural tendencies and behaviors. Open the door to inquiry and inquisitiveness; connect art to science. Invite your students to become creative thinkers as they explore these concepts through movement and guided improvisation.


Symbolic Expressions

(Grades 5 – 8)


The Adinkra symbols originating from West African culture are closely tied to its history, beliefs, and traditions. Articulated through contemporary dance, dance artists use selected symbols as the framework and artistic expression to explore the interpretations and meanings behind these visual emblems.


Director’s Cut

(Grades PreK - 12)


Experience the beauty of contemporary dance through various thematic content by resident and highly acclaimed choreographers of diverse backgrounds.


Searching for Social Justice

(Grades 6 - 12)


Social justice carries a long history and struggle for human rights in American society. Dayton Contemporary Dance Company creates art around what it means to be human and how social justice takes on its own physical identity. This moving expose’ sheds a visual light to promote solidarity, reinforce peace building, and social healing during a time when society is in civil unrest.


Field trip experiences

*Field trip experiences will be available when COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

Join Dayton Contemporary Company dancers at DCDC studios, local museums and theatre locations to experience dance outside the school setting.


Inspiration, Creation, Innovation,

Dayton Aviation Museum & Wright Brothers Cycle Shop

(Grades 3 – 12)


Explore the similarities between the creative process of making dances and the scientific principles and engineering design flight.

Sneak Peak Matinee,

Victoria Theatre or University of Dayton Boll Theatre

(PreK - 12)


Students have the opportunity to see DCDC’s professional company perform contemporary dance works by acclaimed choreographers in a theatre setting with stage lights and costumes. This experience provides exposure and enrichment opportunities to students outside the classroom setting; delivers a shared social experience; inspires new interests, passion, and appreciation for the performing arts. The program includes audience participation, followed by a Q & A with the dance artists.


Steps on the Stairs,

Paul Laurence Dunbar House, Dayton, Ohio

(Grades 4 – 12)


Students participate in a creative writing session, a creative movement session, a guided tour of the Dunbar House and a Q & A lunch, followed by a performance of excerpts from “Lyric Fire,” a ballet created by nationally-acclaimed choreographer Dianne McIntyre.


The Making of Dance: Where the Magic Begins,

Caryl D. Philips Dance Studio & Theatre, Dayton, Ohio

(PreK – 12)


Participants visit DCDC studio for a behind the scenes look at where the creative process happens, where our most prized dance works are created. 


Liturgical Offerings

Offered as a single workshop or residency

When the Spirit Moves

This inspirational program unifies and connects the spirit through an emotionally charged physical dialogue that will uplift the spirit, rejuvenate the soul, and affirm life.

Blessed is She

Through journaling and sacred movement, women of the church will gain a deeper understanding, and their relationship with God as women. Includes movement exploration workshops, and a culminating performance by the participants, and DCDC female dance artists. 

The Man in the Mirror

Men of the church will examine the content of who they are as men walking in faith through the process of self-reflection and worship dance. Includes movement exploration workshops, and a culminating performance by the participants, and DCDC male dance artists.


Spirit in Motion

Let your spirit be uplifted, anointed and moved during DCDC’s “Spirit in Motion” workshops. Fellowship with others in a shared experience of praise and worship through dance. Explore ways that movement and gestures can convey the meaning of text scripture or song. Learn dance choreography from a selected DCDC Liturgical dance work as well as partake in a communal session “Unity in Motion” to create movement phrases set to a selected scripture. Share your worshipful dance through dialogue, informant, prayer, and reflection.


Words Are Not Enough

Youth will experience the glorified presence and ministry of spirit through dance. Build a vocabulary of expression for worship as well as learn choreography techniques for group dances. A DCDC resident choreographer will create a purposeful and meaningful original Liturgical dance work for the praise dance team to present at their church service or a special event.


Visions of Praise (Mini – concert)

When the spirit moves, DCDC dance artists express the word and spirit of praise. Witness the transcending of human boundaries that will uplift the spirit and rejuvenate your soul featuring excerpts from DCDC’s Liturgical dance ministry works.

Community Engagement


Community Arts Connections 


Dayton Contemporary Dance Company offers a myriad of opportunities for people of all ages, cultures, and communities to experience and engage in contemporary dance through movement workshops, as well as dance performances. This program is available for:

  • black history events

  • church services and special events

  • community events

  • conferences

  • corporate engagements

  • diversity programs

  • festivals

  • fundraisers


Plan Your DCDC Experience Today!

Contact Shonna Hickman-Matlock,

Director of Education and Outreach Services  |  Tel: 937-228-3232 ext. 110