DCDC’s ‘Inside Out’ spotlights collaboration

Brother-sister project serves as concert centerpiece

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s collaborative-centric winter concert “Inside Out” will be held Feb. 26 and 27 at the Victoria Theatre.

The presentation finds the troupe looking back on 2020 and lessons learned in the pursuit to evolve. In particular, they are seeking to “embark upon new collaborations to explore life in a new world.” In addition to live music from the University of Dayton Jazz Ensemble, the program will consist of three world premiere works exploring elements of dance, music and design. Choreography will stem from DCDC associate artistic director Crystal Michelle, current DCDC company member Countess V. Winfrey, and former DCDC company member Trezon Dancy.

“We’re excited to offer something audiences have never seen before,” said Debbie Blunden-Diggs, DCDC chief artistic and producing director. “I’ve also been thinking a lot about this program from a legacy retrospective. I didn’t follow Jeraldyne as artistic director. Kevin Ward followed her, and I think sometimes we skip that part of the story. Kevin picked up her legacy once she transitioned, even though I was here, and I picked up (the role of artistic director) after he left. There’s a lot of legacy here. Also, all of the choreographers in (”Inside Out”) have been a part of this company at one point in time. And they also have their own connections. Overall, I’ve been thinking about all the seeds that Jeraldyne planted, including me and Kevin, and how they are being sown. So, all of the groundwork she did is all out there now in the universe in many different ways. It’s coming from the inside out.”

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The concert centerpiece is “Human Nature,” choregraphed by Winfrey with commissioned music by her brother, jazz composer Wesley Winfrey of Nashville, Tennessee. Adding to the family connection, Countess and Wesley’s cousin, visual artist K. Scott, designed the concert’s backdrop.

“I describe the piece as an exploration of the juxtaposition between humans or humanity and nature and the spirit that connects our being, ending and beyond,” said Countess, who has been working with Wesley on this project since last summer. “It’s been nice to be able to collaborate with many people that are really great at what they do. The 30-minute piece also contains dialogue in a narrative format that has a poetic quality to it. We go on a journey of humanity and spirit, connecting it with the idea of nature, different types of life cycles, where at the end of the life cycles there is a regeneration, a revelation, in the aftermath. This is the biggest project I’ve ever done and I’m thankful to Debbie for believing in me. It’s been a huge learning experience for me as an artist and creator.”

“The piece is in five movements,” Wesley said. “And it’s been wonderful working with Countess. It’s the first time we’ve worked together in conjunction on a piece, and we dug into our family tree with this project as well. It’s been amazing and fun to bounce ideas off each other.”

“Creating from the inside out is what DCDC does,” Blunden-Diggs added. “And because it’s Black History Month, this program is even more exciting because DCDC is creating Black history right in front of your eyes. We are Black history.”


What: “Inside Out”

Where: Victoria Theatre, 138 N. main St., Dayton

When: Feb. 26-27; 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $33-$53

Tickets: Call 937-228-3630 or visit daytonlive.org

FYI: Patrons ages 6 and older are required to wear masks

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