Dayton Dance Initiative returns with ‘Making Moves’ at PNC Arts Annex

Collaborative troupe to perform annual presentation June 24 and 25.



The collaborative, diverse and expressive Dayton Dance Initiative presents “Making Moves” June 24 and 25 at the PNC Arts Annex in downtown Dayton.

Founded in 2019 by former Dayton Ballet company member Jocelyn Green Watson, Dayton Dance Initiative assembles local professional dancers from Dayton Ballet, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company 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.

“I feel like we’ve made lasting connections for the dancers in Dayton that have extended beyond just the time that we work together because friendships have formed,” said Watson. “Even though we’re only creating during a short period of time, the connections among those who have worked together since 2019 are still there. We’re also going deeper as (artists) because our collaboration isn’t new. We offer creative freedom. Nobody is putting parameters on these works.”



This year’s roster features Claire Bergman, Miranda Dafoe, Alexandria Flewellen, Aaron Frisby, Katy Gilliam, Ashley Griffin, Jonathan Harris, Craig Johnston, Isaac Jones, KC Lyphout, Robert Pullido, Elizabeth Ramsey, Jennifer Sydor, Quentin Apollovaughn Sledge, the aforementioned Watson, and Countess V. Winfrey.

The company’s fourth annual presentation will be a two-act program consisting of eight world premiere works. Watson, a member of Wonderbound dance company in Denver, Colorado, has planned a pas de deux for Pullido, who recently completed his eighth season with DCDC, and Griffin, a Dayton Ballet company member making her DDI debut. Incorporating the music of Tank and the Bangas, the piece uses spoken word in its look at relationships.

“The piece is about relationships and connections,” Watson said. “It is also story driven as the song kind of goes through vignettes talking about different relationships. My hope is that the dancers get to encompass each of those vignettes, doing so without change of clothing but seeing in physicality the changes in the relationships as it relates to the story of the song.”

Additional works include DCDC member Sledge’s compelling look at cultural ancestry, which will be performed by the entire ensemble.

“Quentin’s piece is deep, but I think a lot of artists are going deeper because of everything we’ve all been through these past few years,” Watson explained. “There is an ebb and flow between deep works and finding connections with people. I also believe that within DDI there is an understanding that the dancers will have a whole year to think about the (types) of routines they want to create. We don’t have a lot of rehearsal time, but people have a lot of time to percolate on their ideas, which leads to bigger, deeper ideas.”

Along with Watson and Sledge, choreography will be provided by Bergman, Johnston, Jones, Lyphout, Ramsey and Sydor.

Credit: Russell Florence

Credit: Russell Florence

At the conclusion of the program, the troupe will invite the audience to stay after for a Q&A with its members as a means to remain community- minded.

“We did a Q&A our first year and it goes with our mission to connect with the audience,” Watson said. “Whenever you see a show, you don’t always have the chance to talk with all the artists and especially in a space that’s a part of the show. We really want to open a discussion with the audience.”

As the title suggests, DDI continues to be open to new possibilities and build artistic bridges in its pursuit to evolve. The company also expects the title to become part of its annual presentational branding.

“‘Making Moves’ (implies) reaching for new things while still staying grounded to our roots,” Watson said. “We’re always thinking of the forward momentum of what we can create next, whether physically or in collaboration. And at the same time, we are remembering to stay rooted in our mission and purpose to collaborate, which allows us to constantly keep moving.”


What: “Making Moves”

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

When: June 24-25; 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $20-$30

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

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