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University of Dayton


Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) and University of Dayton (UD) are esteemed and long-established institutions located in Dayton, Ohio. Both are education and cultural institutions.

University of Dayton’s alliance with DCDC began in 2010. Former university President Dr. Daniel Curran and DCDC’s current Chief Executive Officer Ro Nita Hawes-Saunders represented their respective institutions when the special partnership was inaugurated. Today, university present Dr. Eric Spina has expanded the relationship.

Partnership Highlights


• DCDC is represented on UD’s West Dayton Community Outreach initiative.
• DCDC participated in UD’s Media Production/Arts Center Visioning workshops, working with university staff and faculty on aspects of performance production.
• DCDC performed at UD’s Family weekend, a festive gather for students, their families, and the community.
• DCDC worked with UD to present education programs in over 40 low-income K-12 schools in Dayton.
• UD served as a leading sponsor of DCDC’s performance tour at the Bolshoi in Moscow, Russia, and in Shanghai and Suzhou, China, as well as West Palm Beach, Columbus, St. Louis, Akron, and other venues in the United States.


• DCDC’s Chief Artistic & Producing Director Debbie Blunden-Diggs is a faculty member at UD.
• Amy Renee Jones, a former DCDC dancer, is DCDC’s artist in residence for the Theatre, Dance and Performance Technology Department.
• The UD Dance Ensemble, the university’s student dance ensemble, and DCDC2, the dance company’s pre-professional ensemble, perform in an annual dance presentation on campus in the spring.
• The on-campus Boll Theatre is used by DCDC for occasional performances as well as by university students, faculty, and staff.
• UD recently graduated its first dance major within the Department of Theatre, Dance and Performance Technology.
• UD’s Technical Director also serves as technical director for DCDC’s stage productions, assisted by university students.


• Three university officers sit on DCDC’s board of directors.
• The university bestowed an honorary doctorate upon Ro Nita Hawes-Saunders, DCDC’s chief executive officer.
• The university supported DCDC’s recent 50th anniversary celebration, beginning with university President Dr. Eric Spina and his wife, who co-chaired DCDC’s annual gala and held a reception at their home for top DCDC donors.
• DCDC staff serve on various committees at UD.

The alliance will enable DCDC to fulfill more effectively UD’s current mandates for diversity, inclusion, and arts-enhanced education programming. Specifically, DCDC will support UD’s efforts to:

1) create a more diverse, welcoming, and interculturally inclusive campus from the board of trustees to the student body, with a special commitment to socio-economic and racial/ethnic diversity,

2) increase racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of our faculty and staff, and enrich the curriculum to expand students’ intercultural competencies.

3) develop deeper, higher-impact reciprocal relationships in the Dayton community, elevating the education of our students through experiential learning,

4) integrate the arts and humanities as they play an essential role in the development of creative and critical thinking and forward-looking leadership, and,

5) provide experiential learning opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines supporting others who are creating new ventures.