Dayton Contemporary Dance Company will perform “BodyTalk,” which celebrates the power of dance to tell stories. Inspired by works of African- American writers such as Zora Neale Hurston and August Wilson, DCDC choreographers use movement, music and projections to richly evoke “… stories that address place, migration, love, politics and the church.”
The Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio is a statewide program that showcases and celebrates Ohio artists, arts organizations, arts patrons, and business support of the arts. The public is invited to nominate individuals and organizations in seven awards categories. A selection committee, made up of Ohio Arts Council board members and three individuals selected by Ohio Citizens for the Arts, chooses the winners. The program is presented by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation and honorees will be celebrated at the annual luncheon in Columbus on May 16th. This year Dayton is honored to have 3 award winners:
ARTS PATRON | STUART AND MIMI ROSE
From dynamic performing arts centers to rare copies of ancient books, Stuart and Mimi Rose’s support of the arts spans a diverse array of fields. In May 2015, the city of Huber Heights celebrated the opening of its 4,200-seat covered amphitheatre, named the Stuart and Mimi Rose Music Center in honor of the couple’s generous donation. In its inaugural season, the center presented 29 performances and welcomed thousands of visitors to the city. Their recent support of The Dayton Art Institute, where Mimi served on the board, pays homage to the museum’s upcoming centennial in 2019, allowing many exciting projects that further strengthen the Institute to take place.
Other past philanthropic gifts have drawn from Stuart and Mimi’s personal interests. They recently funded the construction of the 300-seat Stuart and Mimi Rose Theatre at Dayton’s Miami Valley School and the 358-seat Carey Family Amphitheater at Cincinnati Country Day School. Stuart, a rare book enthusiast, has loaned pieces from his private collection to the University of Dayton on several occasions. In 2014, following the “Imprints and Impressions: Milestones in Human Progress” exhibit featuring 49 rare books, Stuart surprised the school with the donation of a rare “He” version of the 1611 King James Bible and a colorful, whimsical edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland featuring illustrations by Salvador Dali.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND PARTICIPATION |
Sierra Leone. Dayton (Montgomery)
Writer Sierra Leone is the president and artistic director of OFP Theatre Company, co-founded with her husband Robert Owens, Sr. For more than a decade, Ohio has benefitted from Sierra’s vision of creative urban arts as a powerful artistic medium to bring communities together across racial, cultural, ideological, and economic divides. Her project “The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show” presents a hybrid of urban poetry, music, dance, and visual arts from local, regional, and international talent. The show later expanded to include an energetic poetry competition called The Last Poet Standing.
Her work with youth arts organizations, schools, and community organizations has been ongoing through her company’s educational arm, Signature Educational Solutions. Sierra is continuing girls’ empowerment work through the Dayton Public Schools’ Girls Achievement program, and she has written and performed commissioned work for many local and national organizations.
IRMA LAZARUS AWARD | DAYTON CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY
The world-renowned Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) is the oldest modern dance company in Ohio. Founded in 1968 by Jeraldyne Blunden, DCDC is one of few American dance companies of international reputation located outside a major U.S. metropolitan area. Having the world’s largest repertoire of classic works by African-American choreographers, the company continues to celebrate dance art around the world. Executive Director Ro Nita Hawes-Saunders created collaborative partnerships between the dance company and area universities, and the company delivers extensive education and outreach programs and services to elementary, middle, and high schools, both locally and while on tour.
DCDC is one of three dance companies across the United States tapped to tour internationally through the seventh season of DanceMotion USA, a dynamic cultural diplomacy program run through the U.S. Department of State and Brooklyn Academy of Music. DCDC will travel to Russia and Kazakhstan in May 2018. Historically, this marks DCDC’s third trip to Russia.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND PARTICIPATION | DAVID POE MITZEL, PH.D.
An Ohio native, David was raised in Rocky River and attended University School in Shaker Heights before moving to Cincinnati. He received a B.A. cum laude in Honors History from Williams College and an M.S. from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He served as an administrator at George Washington University and at Ohio University, where he earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration.
He was elected a founding vice president of the Ohio Continuing Higher Education Association, vice president of the National Council for Resource Development, founding executive director of the Muskingum County Community Foundation, and president of the Artist Colony of Zanesville. After retirement from the Community Foundation, he founded Appalachian Hills of Ohio Territory (AHOOT), the Zanesville Prize for Contemporary Ceramics, the All Ohio Contemporary Ceramics Competition and Show, and the Arts Council of Muskingum County.
INDIVIDUAL ARTIST | RICARDO AVERBACH, DMA
Celebrating his 16th year as director of orchestral studies at Miami University, Brazilian conductor Ricardo Averbach has also served as president of the College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA) and guest conductor of orchestras all over the world. His concerts have been broadcast on radio and television in more than 50 countries. As a dedicated advocate of contemporary music, Ricardo has performed and recorded several world premieres for major labels, which have sold more than half a million copies around the globe. The American Prize has recognized his work in the College/University Division in many different categories, including the American Prize in Conducting, which he won in 2010.
A resident of Oxford since 2002, Ricardo has been promoting the arts in the state of Ohio by collaborating with world-renowned artists, participating in multidisciplinary projects, taking his students on tours nationally and abroad, commissioning Ohio composers, and serving on the Committee for the Arts and Innovative Thinking of the Ohio Department of Education.
ARTS ADMINISTRATION | HOWARD PARR
Howard Parr has more than 30 years of professional experience in the arts and entertainment industry. He has served as executive director of the Akron Civic Theatre since September 2007, having served as its director of development and planning from 1998–2004, during which the theatre completed a $22.5 million expansion and restoration project. In addition to his work with The Civic, Howard provides booking assistance to the City of Akron’s Lock Three Park and to the University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall.
Prior to joining The Civic, Howard served as general manager of Ohio Ballet, general manager of Cleveland Signstage Theatre, general manager of the Danville Civic Center, and performing arts coordinator at Western Illinois University.
ARTS EDUCATION | CENTER FOR ARTS-INSPIRED LEARNING
Founded in 1953, the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning (CAL) creates innovative learning experiences that close learning gaps, teach creative thinking and problem solving, and help students succeed in school, in their first jobs, and beyond. CAL annually provides close to 7,000 arts-in-education programs for 200,000 young people from 150 schools across Northeast Ohio. CAL’s vision extends beyond schools through ArtWorks, a year-round arts-based college and career readiness program for teens, which has provided more than 2,300 high school students with jobs that teach important life skills since its beginning in 2005. CAL continues to be the leading provider of arts education in Northeast Ohio. In 2017, CAL moved to University Circle to provide onsite arts education programming for underserved neighborhoods.
BUSINESS SUPPORT OF THE ARTS (LARGE) | THE J.M. SMUCKER COMPANY. ORRVILLE (WAYNE)
For 120 years, The J.M. Smucker Company has been committed to offering consumers quality products that bring families together to share memorable meals and moments. Today, Smucker is a leading marketer and manufacturer of consumer food and beverage products and pet food and pet snacks in North America. In consumer foods and beverages, its brands include Smucker’s®, Folgers®, Jif®, Dunkin’ Donuts®, Crisco®, Pillsbury®, R.W. Knudsen Family®, Hungry Jack®, Café Bustelo®, Martha White®, truRoots®, Sahale Snacks®, Robin Hood®, and Bick’s®. In pet food and pet snacks, its brands include Meow Mix®, Milk-Bone®, Kibbles ‘n Bits®, Natural Balance®, and 9Lives®. The Company remains rooted in the Basic Beliefs of Quality, People, Ethics, Growth, and Independence established by its founder and namesake more than a century ago.
BUSINESS SUPPORT OF THE ARTS (SMALL) | HEARTLAND BANK GAHANNA (FRANKLIN)
Heartland Bank has been Central Ohio’s community bank since 1911. Experts in commercial real estate, property development, and small to medium business finance, they strive to help execute their clients’ strategic priorities. Heartland also provides vast offerings with expertise in agricultural, small business, and consumer banking services, as well as planning and wealth management.
While there are many opportunities to support the communities served, Heartland Bank steps up, time and time again, to assist local arts organizations by displaying their work in branch offices, funding public art in downtown developments, donating advertising time on Heartland’s digital billboard to support groups like the local symphony, and helping entrepreneurs purchase abandoned warehouses to transform into artist studios. Heartland is proud to support the entrepreneurial spirit for those that live, work, and play in the communities they serve.
Jeraldyne Blunden was the founder and artistic director of the esteemed Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, the world’s largest repository of reconstructed dance works by African American choreographers. Ms. Blunden also founded Jeraldyne’s School of Dance. The school has given many Miami Valley youth the opportunity to learn about modern dance and pursue a dancing career.
Ms. Blunden received significant recognition for her work, including a 1998 Dance Magazine Award, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellows Award. In 1997, she was named one of five Dance Women: Living Legends, “for keeping dance alive.”
Jeraldyne Blunden died on November 2, 1999. She is located in Section 146 in the Woodland Mausoleum.
Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum is located at 118 Woodland Avenue off of Brown Street near the UD Campus. The Woodland Office is open Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm and Saturday 8 am to 12 pm. The Cemetery and Arboretum are open daily from 8 am to 6 pm. The Mausoleum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. For more information call 937-228-3221 or visit the Woodland website.
Dueling bartenders, inspired cocktails…dance off?!
Join the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company Ambassadors & the Dayton Ballet Barre as we kick off a new season of great dance in Dayton! We’ll be making the drinks while you mingle with our talented dancers. Attendees will also get a VIP code to use when you purchase your show tickets for access to exclusive extras. Learn more Tuesday, Sept. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Brixx Ice Company!
Last year, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company was awarded the highly-coveted Bessie award for Outstanding Revival, for it’s revival of Donald McKayle’s iconic “Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder.” The Huffington Post listed it as one of the top 10 dance performances for 2016.
Daytonians have the opportunity to see this work, along with two others, as part of DCDC’s newest production “Vantage Points: A Read Between the Lines,” March 4 & 5 on Dayton’s historic Victoria Theatre stage.
“It is very interesting that a piece choreographed in 1959 — by a master choreographer — is still very resonant, and unfortunately very relevant, today,” DCDC Artistic Director Blunden-Diggs said. Alastair Macaulay, dance critic for the New York Times wrote “Rainbow evokes how much there was for many African-Americans to transcend. It’s a strong piece of American dance history; I’m grateful to have seen it.”
The concert lineup also includes the world premiere of a new work by Ray Mercer, a longtime cast member of Broadway’s “The Lion King.” Mercer’s new work pulls the viewer into the choreographer’s mind to experience dance from the choreographer’s vantage point.
The concert doesn’t quite fall in Black History Month, but the audience could extend the celebration into that first March weekend with the show, Blunden-Diggs said. “To be able to put these works on stage that have been created by us, for us, makes a really strong statement,” she said. “Come celebrate black history with us, because DCDC is black history.”
The show is sponsored by the Dayton Power & Light Foundation with media sponsor Synchrony Financial. Catch it at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 4 and 4 p.m. Sunday, March 5. Individual and group tickets are available at ticketcenterstage.com or by calling the box office at 937-228-3630.
For more information on DCDC and our upcoming shows, visit dcdc.org, and connect with us on social media: follow @daytoncontemporarydancecompany on Facebook and Instagram or @DCDCLive on Twitter.
How to Go? Vantage Points: A Read Between the Lines
Saturday, March 4, 2017 | 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 5, 2017 | 4:00 pm
Victoria Theatre, 138 North Main Street, Dayton, Ohio
Tickets start at $24.50 +
This is definitely one of the must see dance performances of the 2014-15 season. Having had the pleasure and benefit of seeing HEARTSHAKES in rehearsal. I cannot think of a more delightful evening that one could spend at the theatre. Crafted with exquisite charm by Kiesha Lalama and set to the bluesy/soulful music of Alabama Shakes. This evening length work is ambitious theatre for Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, a perfect prelude to Valentine’s Day. You do not want to miss this concert.
Saturday, January 31, 2015 – 7:30 pm
Victoria Theatre, 138 North Main Street, Dayton, Ohio 45402
This evening length contemporary dance theater piece takes a sneak peek into the lives of various lovers, whose relationships collide and intersect throughout the span of one evening in a quaint but moody nightclub. Emotions are stirred. Hearts break. Hearts mend. One thing is certain, hearts shake as stories unfold to the gripping, passionate, and love stricken anthems of the Alabama Shakes debut album Boys and Girls.
This is a must see event choreographed by Kiesha Lalama.
Choreographer, Kiesha Lalama has created more than 50 works to date. Kiesha choreographed feature film, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Sorority Row and hit television documentary series Broadway or Bust (PBS). Theatrical credits include National High School Musical Theater Awards (Broadway), All Shook Up (North Shore Music Theatre), Jesus Christ Superstar (Kansas City Starlight Theatre), and Judge Jackie Justice, Ruthless! The Musical, and A Grand Night for Singing (Pittsburgh CLO). Concert dance highlights include Shed (DCDC), Alegria (Giordano Dance Chicago), and Torque (August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble).
Lalama has created two full-length contemporary dance theater productions. The Bench received rave reviews and was named by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s “Best of Dance” Top Ten list in both 2009 and 2010. The Bench is currently under commercial development with Titus Theatricals. HeartShakes for DCDC will launch the World Premiere in January 2015.
DMM Ticket Giveaway!
We’ve got a pair of tickets to giveaway to HeartShakes, so just fill out the form below and leave us a heartfelt comment about the someone you’ll take to the show if you win. We’ll announce the winner Thurs night here! [form 55 “DMM Contest Entry – Generic”]
Another excellent chance to see the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company as it presents Synchronicity, a unique concert in collaboration with student musicians attending two of the company’s university partners, Central State University and Wright State University as well as South Dayton Dance Theatre. Special guest artist, Dayton’s very own renowned jazz musician, Khalid Moss and his Trio, will also perform. Mr. Khalid’s trio features Eddie Brookshire on bass and Fenton Sparks on drums. The performance takes place on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 7:30pm and Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 3:00pm in the Renaissance Auditorium at the Dayton Art Institute.
For tickets to Synchronicity please contact Ticket Center Stage at 937-228-3630 or 888-228-3630 or www.ticketcenterstage.com.
As a diverse cross-section of concert-goers filled the Victoria Theatre there was a palpable buzz that vibrated through the space. Seasoned lovers of dance and neophytes alike, eagerly awaited the concert of “world” premieres to begin. Seeing this many patrons still clamoring for artistic offerings of this Dayton institution, one cannot help imagining one angel in particular is smiling from heaven.
To make the case for being a world class dance troupe, it requires that the talents and skills of the dancers and choreographers be showcased and presented to maximum effect. Performing at the Victoria Theatre truly provided the best framing vehicle for the beauty and youthful vitality that moved before us.
It was stated in one of the three curtain speeches of the evening that it had been the dream of the artistic director, Debbie Blunden-Diggs , that she was committed to a vision of an all new choreographic works concert in honor of the forty-five year anniversary of the DCDC. That commitment produced one of the strongest concerts performed by the company in years.
The concert began with a polymorphic collage of kinetic movement specificity from Ronen Koresh. “Exit 7” began with a taut, repetitive ensemble section that evocatively set the the tone for the loosely linked dance vignettes to come. Dancers moved with a punchy precision while navigating rows of chairs highlighted individually by shafts of overhead lights. The choreography had a refined ritualistic tone that echoed throughout the rest of the work. There was a collective need to make sense of our rapidly splintering and fragmented society. This fragmentation led us on a journey, that was filled with at times moments of sensual despair, cheeky humor, and audacious physicality. It was brought to a dazzling close by the ensemble of dancers generating a sound collage of their own voices as an accompaniment to the visceral climax of the highly engaging and unique work of Mr. Koresh.
The work of Donald Byrd was a master class in combining engaging modernist movement material with spoken word in a heady mix of social and geo-political commentary and satirical undertones. It is the type of artistic work that only someone of his elevated artistic ability can accomplish.
Watching this work unfold and weave its intellectual spell on us in the audience, I could not help but envision this as being a truly post-modernist effort in every sense of the word. From the sublime verbal barrage of the narrator, exquisitely brought to life by Nabachawa Ssensalo, to the beautifully patterned and group movement invoking the bio-mechanics of cotton picking, this is a work worth savoring and repeating.
In the work of Rodney Brown”The Gatherer/wee Thing”, a tribute to the indomitable spirit of Sheri “Sparkle” Williams. One comes away with a sensory trip contemplating of not only Sheri as 40 year veteran, but also the future of DCDC as relevant fixture of the arts community. I would argue that DCDC is the only element of our community as a cultural component that transcends the bounds of our provinciality. An exportable cultural product that would hold up well under the glare and scrutiny of the world stage. All this from watching a “lion in winter” dancing star perform a nuanced solo on the Victoria theatre stage.
The evening concluded with the work of Ray Mercer, “Tossed Around”; a work whose brevity was not welcomed. This work felt incomplete for all of the right reasons. Visually engaging, physically energized choreography that hit you in the solar plexus and that filled this reviewer with with pure unmitigated joy for being in its presence. As the yellow chairs flew from the wings to be caught by the dancers as they moved in ever increasing complex movement patterns, you were left wondering if and how frenzied and complex the choreography could evolve into. It was like getting your hands on the first chapters of an amazing serialized page-turning novel. You were hungry for more.
Seeing this company of young dancers and seasoned veterans in this concert performing such world class and dynamic artistic works left me breathless and most importantly hungry for more.
What makes a legend? In the dance world, it is a dancer whose singular talent that has been burnished to a blinding artistic brilliance by time. Sheri “Sparkle” Williams, the vessel for the post modern choreographic sensibilities of Rodney Brown, is that legend.
“The Gathering/wee Thing” had it’s world premiere in 2012 as part of the world premiere of the Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar Documentary Film “Sparkle” at the Dayton Art Institute.
I had the great fortune of being in the audience for the sold out event, a powerful testimony to the magical allure of Sheri “Sparkle” Williams, and bearing witness to her masterful talents. The powerful combination of Rodney Brown’s multifaceted and textured choreography and the magisterial interpretive skills was absolutely intoxicating.
As a reviewer I am grateful for the opportunity to revisit this work and that a larger audience will get an opportunity to experience this indelibly awe-inspiring work of art.
The fact that Sheri “Sparkle” Williams is receiving the Ohio Governors Award for Arts Excellence this spring is another reason we all need to be at this concert to show our appreciation and gratitude for a woman and an artist who defies categorization and all the normal laws of the physical universe. I cannot imagine any obstacles or excuses for not attending this show.
ReVisioning 45: New Works Unveiled
Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 7:30pm and Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 3:00pm
Victoria Theatre, 138 North Main Street, Dayton, Ohio 45402
For tickets to ReVisioning 45: New Works Unveiled please contact Ticket Center Stage at 937-228-3630 or 888-228-3630 or www.ticketcenterstage.com.