Dayton Dance Initiative presents collaborative ‘Making Moves’ at PNC Arts Annex



Dayton Dance Initiative stresses the art of collaboration in its presentation of “Making Moves: The CoLAB” slated June 30 and July 1 at the PNC Arts Annex in downtown Dayton.

The troupe, founded in 2019 by former Dayton Ballet company member Jocelyn Watson, will stage nine premiere works that will spotlight partnerships between company members and local artists. The eight collaborators are: multi-disciplinary artist Tobi Ewing; writer Jason Harrison; artist/activist Mariah J; composer Austin Jaquith; art educator/writer Hannah Kasper Levinson; composer Brennan Paulin; poet Erica Paulson; and artist/retired Dayton Daily News journalist Ron Rollins.

“I think this is the year we really push audiences with our pieces,” Watson said. “Due to the addition of the collaborators, the choreographers have chosen ideas and themes that have allowed them to think outside the box. The thought of having someone to bounce ideas off of has perhaps opened them up to really go for it.”



Dayton Dance Initiative (DDI) assembles local, professional dancers from Dayton Ballet, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) and Arthur Murray Dance Center. The troupe primarily allows dancers more creative opportunities, especially in terms of choreographing, while also providing employment during their “off” season and valuable time to connect and grow as colleagues.

This year’s roster features Claire Bergman, Thaliyah Cools-Lartigue, Nicolay Dorsett, Alexandria Flewellen, Aaron Frisby, Jasmine Getz, Katy Gilliam, Ashley Griffin, Jonathan Harris, Craig Johnston, Stevie Lamblin, Patrick Lennon, Emily Luria, Isaac Jones, KC Lyphout, Willa Marks, Robert Pullido, Elizabeth Ramsey, Nile Ruff, Mia Sanchez, Quentin Apollovaughn Sledge, Jennifer Sydor, and Countess V. Winfrey.

“Quentin (of DCDC) is partnered with Jason Harrison, who is going to be speaking while Quentin and his female partner dances,” Watson noted. “I think it’s going to feel more theatrical, deep and heavy. Ron Rollins will be painting live to a work choreographed by Stevie, a former member of DCDC. I’m excited to see what people think.”

Jones, a Dayton Ballet company member, is collaborating with Jaquith, who provided original music for the Dayton Ballet productions of “Dracula: Bloodlines” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Jones’ personal work, titled “I Promise You I Tried” and bolstered by Jaquith’s beautiful score, concerns the complexities of grief.

“In this piece, I’m trying to (examine) the psychosis of the aftershocks,” Jones said. “When someone goes through grief, the support system around you, after some time has passed, their life moves forward. But what happens to people down the road? Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Sometimes time teaches you how to live with an open wound.”



A DDI member since its inception, Jones is pleased to see the company grow and be adaptable in its fifth season while remaining focused and welcoming.

“What’s so nice about DDI is that, at its core, its goal has remained the same: keeping artists in Dayton here and employed in the off season, and to highlight the local artists of Dayton,” he said. “DDI has kept its goals but has been willing to expand. This is the biggest company of dancers we’ve had.”

“Making Moves: The CoLAB” is supported in part by a Special Projects Grant funded by the Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District and administered by Culture Works. Watson, a member of the Denver-based Wonderbound dance company, says she was happy to have received nearly 30 applications from interested collaborators. She views the final eight as a strong indicator of Dayton’s broad, diverse arts scene, which she hopes will allow for continued interest in DDI.

“We didn’t know how many visual artists are working here and how many musicians are here aside from the Dayton Philharmonic,” Watson said. “The hope is that we will get new audiences to come and learn about us. I hope audiences are intrigued to see art next to dance and continue to have cross-pollination.”


What: “Making Moves: The CoLAB”

Where: PNC Arts Annex, 46 W. Second St., Dayton

When: June 30-July 1; 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Cost: $30

Tickets or more information: Call 937-228-3630 or visit

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