DCDC celebrates 50 years with one-night special celebration

On the brink of its 50th anniversary season, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is producing a one-night-only celebration of former dancers and current artists in its winter concert fittingly titled “Reunited,” which is slated Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Victoria Theatre.

>>RELATED: Live music events in and around Dayton in 2018

“Celebrating 50 years is very important internally to the organization,” said DCDC Artistic Director Debbie Blunden-Diggs. “Longevity of a company in the dance world is very important right now particularly when you hear of companies closing their doors daily as the economy tries to adjust to the non-profit sector. But DCDC, being around for 50 consecutive years in a non-coastal city, is proud of our accomplishments. We want everybody to celebrate with us.”

Organizers are preparing excerpts of 10 works from each of the company’s three artistic directors: founder Jeraldyne Blunden, Kevin Ward and Blunden-Diggs. The program will also feature works from choreographers in DCDC’s classic repertory including Asadata Dafora and Donald Byrd, and works from today’s top choreographers including Ronen Koresh, Dwight Rhoden, Alvin Rangel and Ray Mercer.

>>MORE: The best places to enjoy live local music in Dayton

“The concert is going to be an interesting retrospective that sort of takes the audience through an open photo album through our 50 years,” said Blunden-Diggs. “I’ve seen a lot of dance companies celebrate their 50th anniversaries and I wanted to create something more exciting than particularly hearing a lot of historical facts. So, the audience will see snippets of past work and most recent work. It’s going to be an exciting program.”

In addition, former WDTN news anchor Marsha Bonhart will connect the dances as the show’s live storyteller.

“Marsha has witnessed a lot of the things DCDC has done,” Blunden-Diggs said. “I was looking for a way someone could help us tell the story in more than one way. She’s a wonderful host and moderator.”

>>25 Dayton-area galas and charity events to put on your calendar in 2018

Organizers are still confirming how many former dancers and special guests will be included, but Blunden-Diggs is certain the evening will be an amazing homecoming for all involved. She also hints the company could possibly announce the upcoming 50th anniversary season at the concert.

“Once you’re with DCDC, you’re always with DCDC,” she reminded. “This concert is just another opportunity to say that out loud and get as many people back here to see what we look like now. There are many people who left the company years ago who haven’t seen what the company is today. And our present company will have the opportunity to hear the stories of the people whose shoulders they stand upon.”

>>THINGS TO DO: Get ready to party in 2018 with these boozy events

Want to go?

WHAT: "Reunited"

WHERE: Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton

WHEN: 7:30 p.m.; Saturday

COST: $14.50-$47

TICKETS/MORE INFO: Call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com

FYI: DCDC will host "The Gathering: A DCDC Family Reunion" with dancers, choreographers, teachers and patrons Fri. Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. at Dayton Women's Club, 225 N. Ludlow St., Dayton. For more information, call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com.


The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is about to celebrate 50 years. Dayton Contemporary Dance Company was founded in 1968 to create performance opportunities for dancers of color. Nearly 50 years later, it remains rooted in the African American experience.

The dance group will be awarded the prestigious Irma Lazarus Award this year, one of the Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

The “Lazarus Award goes to individuals or organizations who have helped shape public support for the arts through their work as advocates and have brought national and international recognition to Ohio through sustained dedication to artistic excellence.”

Other top honors:

  • Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) won a prestigious NYC Bessie Award in 2016. The dance company received shout-outs from The New York Times and The Huffington Post as well for its performance "Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder."
  • The film "Sparkle" premiered on PBS in 2012, featuring dancer Sheri "Sparkle" Williams.
  • DCDC performed the opening performance for Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Maya Angelo at the Schuster Center in 2005.
  • DCDC toured 27 cities with The Flight Project, five dance works commemorating the Wright Brothers centennial of powered flight in 2003.
  • Dancer Sheri Williams received the New York Dance and Performance Award (the Bessie), the JOSIE Award in 2002.
  • DCDC was featured in the 2001 Emmy award-winning PBS Great Performances documentary, Free to Dance, in 2001.

About the Author