Dayton Contemporary Dance Company 55th Anniversary Season


Sat. Feb 17  7:30 PM
Sun. Feb 18  4:00 PM


Rooted in History, Reaching for the Future

IN MODERN MOVES makes history February 2024. Witness DCDC becomes the first majority African American contemporary dance company to perform Paul Taylor's timeless work Esplanade with live music performed by the sonorous Springfield Symphony Orchestra. Transport yourself to a steamy city nightlife in Talley Beatty's The Stack Up, filled with wondrous characters and stunning athleticism. Be moved by Beatty's emotional male solo Mourner's Bench which testifies about the loss of his community and their suffering. Rejoice in the triumph of the human spirit and evolution of "we the people" in Kevin Ward's And Each (New*) Day.

Atmospheric effects, such as haze, strobe lights, etc.,

are used during tonight's performance. 

Show Order

Directly after the performance, there will be a post-show talk with DCDC dancers, artistic staff and the band.  



World Premiere: 1975          DCDC Premiere: 2024

Paul Taylor's 1975 masterwork is based on pedestrian movement and features ordinary movements like walking, running, sliding, and falling. The performance is divided into five sections set to two Bach violin concertos. The final section features dancers careening fearlessly across the stage.

Choreographer    Paul Taylor
Original lighting  Jennifer Tipton
Lighting reconstruction     Matthew J. Evans
Original costume design  John Rawlings
Costumes provided by    American Dance Festival
Restager    Ruth Andrien O’Neill
“Violin Concerto in E”
“Double Violin Concerto in D Minor”
Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by
The Springfield Symphony Orchestra
Conductor    Peter Stafford Wilson
Violin Soloist     Sujean Kim
Violin Soloist     David Smarelli 

Qarrianne Blayr, Thaliyah Cools-Lartigue, Alexandria Flewellen,
Niarra Gooden-Clark, Da’Rius Malone, Robert Pulido,
Quentin ApolloVaughn Sledge, Sadale Warner, Countess V. Winfrey

The acquisition and performance of Esplanade by Paul Taylor
s made possible in part by the generous support of:

The Iddings Foundation  |  Miriam Rosenthal Foundation for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts  |   AES Ohio Foundation

Intermission (10 min.)***

Late admittance will not be permitted after the first intermission, until after the conclusion of Mourner's Bench.

Mourner's Bench

World premiere 1947    DCDC Premiere 1990

The dancer “sitting on the mourner’s bench” reflects on the end of a mixed rural community which had, prior to the formation of the Ku Klux Klan, worked in harmony to farm the land. The arrival of the KKK and their creed has destroyed the harmony of the community and the dead are buried under the cover of night, “My hair was wet with midnight dew”. A single mourner remembers the horror of the slaughter that he has witnessed.

"It's a group expression of grief and then it's a personal expression of grief, and he is -- he is thinking upon the events of the day. And he's pushing, and just moving across the bench, and looking out, moving across the bench. All of the movements have to do directly with what he has just experienced that day."  — Talley Beatty

Choreographer    Talley Beatty
Restager    Kevin Ward
Traditional spiritual, "There is a Balm in Gilead" 
Costume design      L'Amour Ameer

Aaron Frisby

And Each (New*) Day...

DCDC Premiere: 2019          *Revised: 2024

I was inspired by the poem "The Low Road" by Marge Piercy. " starts when you care to act, it starts when you do it again and they said no, it starts when you say ( ... ) We and know who you mean, and each day you mean one more ..." The accumulative power of people to act in the interests of the whole, as a method of social change, fueled all civil rights movements. Set against near implacable odds, our determination and strength grow through the most straightforward means - 2 lovers defending, 3 becoming a delegation, 4 bridge players, 6 fundraisers, a dozen demonstrating, and 100 creating a newsletter. There is no need for despair, no time for despair. I've tried to suggest the power that builds when one person sets an example by standing up, and we, in turn, have their backs. "And Each Day" was commissioned for DCDC's 50th Anniversary, specifically to accompany the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor Neal Gittlemen suggested the young promising composer Derrick Skye, whose music I fell in love with. ⸻ Kevin Ward

Choreographer    Kevin Ward
Music    Lithe Melodies
Composer    Derrick Skye
Costume design    L'Amour Ameer

Nicolay Dorsett (Sunday),  Alexandria Flewellen, Aaron Frisby, Niara Gooden-Clark (Saturday), Da’Rius Malone, Robert Pulido, Elizabeth Ramsey, Quentin ApolloVaughn Sledge, Countess V. Winfrey

Intermission (10 min.)

The Stack Up

World Premiere: 1982         DCDC Premiere: 1992

The Stack Up is a classic work by Talley Beatty, set to the background of a 1970s beat and graffiti landscape. It depicts the emotional "traffic" of a Los Angeles community stacked on top of each other through tough, brutal, yet poignant street life scenes, break dancing, and physical pyrotechnics. 

Choreographer      Talley Beatty
Restagers        Sheri “Sparkle” Williams, Dawn Woods Carter, Gary L. Harris
Costume designer    Carol Vollet-Kingston
Costumer    L’Amour Ameer
Lighting designer    Tom Skelton
Lighting redesigner    Matthew J. Evans
"Faces" Earth, Wind, & Fire   |  "Aubrey"  Grover Washington, Jr   |   "Rockin' It" Fearless Four   |   "Get Up and Dance" Alphonze 


The Drug Dealer
Devin Baker

 Blue Couple
Quentin  ApolloVaughn Sledge & Sadale Warner

 Pink Couple
Aaron Frisby & Niarra Gooden-Clark

 Yellow Couple
Da'Rius Malone & Countess V. Winfrey

 Orange Girl
Elizabeth Ramsey

 The Rudes
Alexandria Flewellen, Amy Gibbons, Thaliyah Cools-Lartigue & Robert Pulido

Qarrianne Blayr, Nicolay Dorsett, Sean Ferguson & Wilhelmina  Marks


Paul Taylor photo by Maxine Hicks
+ Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor (1930-2018) was one of the most accomplished artists this nation has ever produced. He established the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1954, serving as both a virtuoso performer and a trailblazing choreographer until 1974, when he turned exclusively to choreography. During his 64-year career as a dance maker, Mr. Taylor helped define and shape the home-grown American art of modern dance through a matchless repertoire of 147 works with an extraordinary range of subject matter. In 2015 he established Paul Taylor American Modern Dance with the goal of creating an institutional home for modern dance at New York’s Lincoln Center. In addition to presenting Mr. Taylor’s works, PTAMD presents iconic works by great modern choreographers of the past and present, and commissions the dance makers of the 21st Century to work with the Taylor Company, thereby helping to ensure the future of the art form.


+ Talley Beatty

Talley Beatty began his professional dance career at the age of 12, performing in La Guillablisse under the direction of Ruth Page. At 16 he began dancing with Katherine Dunham’s company. Beatty was one of 9 original Dunham dancers who traveled from Chicago to New York to perform in the YMHA’s Negro Dance Evening in 1937. In 1945, Beatty was the dancer in Maya Deren’s pioneering film, A Study in Choreography for Camera. His performance experiences were varied, ranging from musical comedies to a minstrel-ballet. In the 1946 revival of Showboat, Beatty shared the leading dancer role with Pearl Primus. After several more theatre appearances, Beatty chose to embark on a career as a concert dancer specializing in dances based on the Black tradition, creating works in a more general style, closely related to jazz. He formed a company of his own, and with it toured Europe and the United States. 

A suite of dances entitled Southern Landscape (1947) gave Beatty his first opportunity to contribute an important work as a dancer and choreographer. The third dance of the suite, Mourner’s Bench, was a moving solo performed by Beatty that critics termed “brilliant”. As Beatty continued to create new ballets, his style became more streamlined in manner and bolder in approach. One of his earlier works is the epic Road of the Phoebe Snow (1959). Dealing with life along the wrong side of the Lackawanna Railroad, the work centers around the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, somberly evocative of life, youth and death. In 1960, Beatty debuted Come And Get the Beauty of it Hot. This was described by critics as extraordinarily beautiful and full of human relations and implications. A number of Beatty’s later works focused on racial injustice and discrimination. Besides his concert works, Beatty has staged dance sequences for many productions including Jean Genet’s drama The Blacks, Clarence Jackson’s Fly Blackbird, the revival of House of Flowers, in 1969, But Never Jam Today, a Black adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, and Vinnette Carroll’s Your Arms Too Short to Box With God in 1976

In 1982 he premiered The Stack Up which is an anti-drug portrayal of life on the streets of the inner city. In 1988, the American Dance Festival received funding to reconstruct and preserve works by Black choreographers who have made important contributions to dance. Through his vision, achievements in dance and the creation of a new dance vocabulary, Beatty was chosen and honored as one of four original choreographers inducted into the program. DCDC’s participation in ADF’s “Black Tradition in American Modern Dance”, as a dancing historical library, were the chosen interpreters of Beatty’s Mourner’s Bench, Come and Get the Beauty of it Hot and The Stack Up (Road of the Phoebe Snow was procured by DCDC prior to the ADF program).

+ Kevin Ward

Kevin Ward joined DCDC in 1980 as a teacher, dancer and choreographer, following his work with the Cincinnati Ballet Company and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Recognizing his extraordinary abilities, Jeraldyne Blunden, the late founder/director of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, began
immediately to groom him for a larger leadership role within the company. In 1990 she named Mr. Ward Associate Artistic Director, and he assumed responsibilities for directing rehearsals, casting, programming and auditions. Upon Mrs. Blunden’s passing in 1999 the DCDC Board of Directors
appointed him Artistic Director. Mr. Ward served as Artistic Director until his retirement in 2007.  Mr. Ward then relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he worked as musician and dance instructor at National Dance Institute, and at New Mexico School for the Arts from 2009 until spring 2022. He
returned to Ohio and DCDC in 2022, where he is Senior Artistic Advisor. Mr. Ward is the recipient of three Ohio Arts Council Fellowships, 1983, 1984, 1997, and three Arts Project Grants, including his work with video artist Jud Yalkut, a Master Artist Fellowship from the Montgomery County Cultural Arts District, the OhioDance Award, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Masters of African American Choreography Medal. He has served on various panels including Wisconsin Arts Council, New York Foundation for the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, Dance Advance, Regional Dance America/Northeast Board Member and the American College Dance Festival Association as Adjudicator and Teacher.


Artistic & Administrative Staff

Debbie Headshot 360px

Artistic Director
Debbie Blunden-Diggs

DEBBIE BLUNDEN-DIGGS, daughter of company founder Jeraldyne Blunden, began training at the Schwarz School of the Dance at the age of five and joined Dayton Contemporary Dance Company at age twelve. At seventeen, she won national recognition from The Young Choreographers Showcase for her first piece, Variations in Blue, which was selected for inclusion in the National Choreographic Plan. Many of her works have become part of DCDC’s artistic blueprint, contributing to the long legacy of Jeraldyne’s vision for the company. Blunden-Diggs’ most notable works include Configurations, Kaleidoscope, Fragments, In My Father’s House, Traffic, and No Room, No Place, No Where, for which she received a Monticello Award in 1982. In May 2002, she adjudicated the Regional Dance America Northeast Competitions

+ More

In 2007, after over two decades of appearing in most of the company’s repertoire, including principal roles like the mother in Eleo Pomare’s Las Desenamoradas and the madame in Donald McKayle’s District Storyville, Blunden-Diggs became Artistic Director for Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. 

Ms. Blunden-Diggs also served as Co-Director/Choreographer for The Human Race Theatre’s production of Crowns, as well as Director/Choreographer for Central State University’s original production of In The Pursuit of Wind, among others. She created ballets  for and worked with students at University of Dayton, Sinclair Community College, Wright State University, Central State University, Stivers School for the Arts, South Dayton Dance Theatre and Canton Ballet.

In addition to her choreographic and artistic leadership, Ms. Blunden-Diggs is the Executive Director of Jeraldyne’s School of the Dance, the cornerstone to Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and works closely with DCDC’s pre-professional company, DCDC2. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for The International Association of Blacks in Dance, Dance/USA's Board of Trustees, the Seedling Foundation Board for Stivers School for the Arts, and is an adjunct professor at University of Dayton in the Theatre, Dance, and Performance Technology Program.

She has received numerous awards and accolades. Among them are honors from Regional Dance America, Monticello  Choreographic Fellowships in 1979 and 1980, and two Individual Fellowship Awards from the Ohio Arts Council in 1981 and 1984. The Fisk University Alumni Association honored her with an Excellence in Artistry Award, and she was awarded a Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District Master Fellowship for artistic excellence and community outreach initiatives in  2000. In 2014, she received the Image of Hope Youth Advocacy Award for her contributions to improve the lives of youth in  the Greater Dayton area. 


Associate Artistic Director
Qarrianne Blayr

QARRIANNE BLAYR (Fayetteville, North Carolina) (Associate Artistic Director) earned her BFA degree at Howard University, studying under Sherrill Berryman Johnson, Pat Thomas, Sandra Fortune-Green, Katherine Smith, Akua Kouyate and Assane Konte. She also studied traditional Jamaican dance at University of West Indies at Mona. In  2004, Ms. Blayr founded the performing arts group  Arts International. She joined DCDC’s first company in 2012 after having performed for two seasons in  DCDC2, the company’s pre-professional ensemble. Of the choreographers she has worked with Sherrill  Berryman-Johnson has been the most influential in helping her become a “moving/ thinking vessel.” Her favorite DCDC repertory piece to perform is “Amen Corner” of the dance concert “Body Talk"

Crystal Michelle Fuller

Associate Artistic Director
Crystal Michelle

Crystal Michelle is a choreographer, dancer, and intermedia artist. She was appointed Associate Artistic Director of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company in 2014. Previous to her appointment, she was a dance artist with the company’s pre-professional ensemble, DCDC2. She then joined the first company for nine seasons, becoming Resident Choreographer, and appointed Arts Curriculum Coordinator in 2010 for DCDC’s education programs.

As coordinator, Ms. Michelle became integral to the design of Dancing to the Curriculum, a highly recognized arts-integration education dance residency for elementary and middle school students in Dayton Public Schools. Over the years, she has taught dance master classes and was a teaching artist for the company’s outreach services. As a choreographer, performer, and researcher, she has traveled nationally and internationally, including to Ougadougou, Burkina Faso, and Port of Spain, Trinidad, where she researched African Diaspora movement styles and began her newest venture: The Beautiful Archive Project.

Director of Development & Marketing
Shola Odumade

Director of Operations
David Young

Director of D2 & Arts Enrichment Programs
Shonna Hickman-Matlock

Digital Marketing Manager
Michael Green

Business & Finance Manager
Shirlita Carson

Senior Artistic Advisor & Touring Manager
Kevin Ward

Company Manager & Production Associate
Willie Lindsey

Production Director
Matt Evans

Costume Designer
L'Amour Ameer

Stage Manager, Company Trainer, Dance artist
Sheri 'Sparkle" Williams

2023-2024 DCDC Dance Artists

1st Company

+ Devin Baker

Indianapolis, Indiana

Devin joined the company in 2013. He trained with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater in Chicago and has performed for Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Seamless Dance Theater, and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, along with various choreographers such as Ray Mercer, Milton Myers, Kevin Iega Jeff, and Nejla Yatkin. This is his eleventh season with DCDC. 

+ Qarrianne Blayr

Fayetteville, NC

Qarrianne joined DCDC’s first company in 2012 after having performed for two seasons in DCDC2, the company’s pre-professional ensemble. She earned her BFA degree at Howard University, studying under Sherrill Berryman-Johnson, Pat Thomas, Sandra Fortune-Green, Katherine Smith, Akua Kouyate, and Assane Konte. She also studied traditional Jamaican dance at University of West Indies at Mona.

In 2004, Ms. Blayr founded the performing arts group Arts International. 

Of the choreographers she has worked with, Sherrill Berryman-Johnson has been the most influential in helping her become a “moving/thinking vessel.”

Her favorite DCDC repertory piece to perform is The Amen Corner of the dance concert BodyTalk.

+ Nicolay Dorsett

Sunset, FL

Nicolay Dorsett joined the company as a JB Fellow in 2020 and was promoted to a company member in 2021.  She was born and raised in Sunrise, Florida, and began her dance training at the young age of 7 at Elegant School of Modern Dance. She graduated from the University of South Florida (USF) in the spring of 2020 with a BA in health sciences and a BFA in modern dance performance. During Nicolay’s time at USF, she studied under teachers Bliss Kolmyer, Michael Foley, Andrew Carrol, Andee Scott, and John Parks and performed in works by renowned choreographers, including Vespers by Ulysses Dove and Prowl by Claudia Lavista. In October of 2019, she was selected to be a part of the USF/China Exchange Program to participate in the International Creative Dance Seminar at Beijing Normal University. With her passion for dance, Nicolay hopes to continue performing and growing in her artistry.

+ Alexandria Flewellen

Columbus, OH

Ms. Flewellen joined DCDC2 in 2016 then promoted to first company in 2017. Alexandria graduated from Wright State University in 2018.

The choreographer who has most influenced her is DCDC alum Dwight Rhoden; "He challenged my usual way of moving and helped me find a different way of thinking about movement."

"I chose to be a dancer because I need to dance, and it is who I am."

+ Aaron Frisby

Philadelphia, PA

Aaron joined the company in 2020. He started out dancing in hip-hop and acrobatics at the tender age of 7. By the age of 12, Aaron was training in ballet, jazz, and modern at The POINTE! Dance Studio. In 2010, he was accepted into the Philadelphia Creative and Performing Arts High School (CAPA). Aaron attended The Ailey School Summer Intensive; he was fortunate enough to be accepted into the scholarship program at The Ailey School as well. He spent two years as a scholarship student there and was also a part of the student performance group (ASPG). Mr. Frisby learned and performed works choreographed by Alvin Ailey, Kirven Boyd, Ray Mercer, Ronald K. Brown, and many more. Aaron is so grateful to have made it this far in his dance career and is excited to continue dancing with the DCDC family.

+ Niarra Gooden-Clarke

Toronto, Ontario

Niarra Gooden-Clarke is a talented dancer who joined DCDC in 2021 as a JB Fellow. She was subsequently promoted to a company member in 2022.Gooden-Clarke graduated from Kent State University with a B.A. in Dance and a B.A. in Sociology in the spring of 2022.

Throughout her career, Niarra has worked with and performed pieces by renowned choreographers such as Ray Mercer, Yoshito Sakuraba, Tiffany Rae-Fisher, Gary Abbott, Catherine Meredith, Gregory King, and Avery Walker. She has also learned from acclaimed artists like Kayla Farrish, Juel D. Lane, and Baye&Asa. Niarra has attended summer intensives with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and Emerge125 and received a full scholarship to attend the BODYTRAFFIC summer program.

While completing her undergraduate degrees, Niarra taught dance classes in various styles to students aged 3-18 at nearby studios. She was also an assistant cheerleading coach at Theodore Roosevelt High School.

Niarra is passionate about retelling and preserving African American history through movement. She believes that the dancing body can effectively express the black experience. Niarra is thrilled to continue her professional career as a movement artist, teacher, and choreographer and enjoys experiencing the expression of other artists through physical movement. 

+ Da'Rius Malone

Chicago, IL

Da'Rius joins the company for his first season in 2022. He began his training under the direction of August Tye at Hyde Park School of Dance. A 2014 graduate of The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts), he won the award for Scholar-Artist and performed works from DanceWorks Chicago, Muntu Dance Theater, and Joffrey Ballet.

In 2018, he graduated from The Boston conservatory at Berklee with a BFA in Contemporary Dance Performance with an Emphasis in Ballet. 

Mr. Malone has trained with the Kibbutz contemporary Dance Company (Israel), Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, NW Dance Project, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, American Ballet theatre, Ballet Austin, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, and 10 Hairy Legs. Da'Rius has performed works by Doug Varone, Joshua Manculich, Merce Cunningham, Danny Buraczeski, Gabrielle Lamb, Yury Yanowsky, and Akram Khan. 

As a company member with James Sewell Ballet, Da'Rius became the company's first Resident Choreographer in 2021. 

Da'Rius wants to use his dance education and experience as a professional concert dancer to create a platform to make a positive impact in life.

+ Robert Pulido

Los Angeles, CA

Robert joined the company in 2015 after he graduated from California State University of Fullerton with a BA degree in dance. He performed in the Dance Teacher’s Summit and Capezio A.C.E. Awards and in The Nutcracker under director Lois Ellyn of Nouveau Chamber Ballet.

In 2016, he performed in Donald McKayle’s Rainbow Round My Shoulder at David H. Koch Theatre in Lincoln Center in New York City.

Mr. Pulido was a teacher’s assistant at the Los Angeles Dance Connection, where he trained for 10 years.

The choreographer who has most influenced him is Alvin Rangel, who has worked with DCDC: “His movement flows continuously with a few surprises here and there. He made me use and adapt the floor to my body.”

+ Elizabeth Ramsey

Toledo, OH

Elizabeth joined the first company in 2015. For three years she performed in DCDC2 and in 2016 she graduated with a BFA degree from Wright State University. Her choreography was chosen to premiere in Wright State’s Spring Dance Concert.

She has studied with the Joffrey Ballet, Complexions, and MIP.

Ms. Ramsey chose her career in dance because dance “creates beautiful minds and bodies and allows great connections and conversations between humans.”

She names Shonna Hickman-Matlock as a choreographer who influenced her because “she made me mentally sharper and she helped my body understand mature movement.”

+ Quentin ApolloVaughn Sledge

Chicago, IL

Quentin joined the company in 2014. He began studying dance with Homer Hans Bryant, a former member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Mr. Sledge graduated summa cum laude from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he earned a degree in business administration with a concentration in management. He also received recognition as a National Society of Collegiate Scholar and was accepted into a training program at Gotta Dance Atlanta under the direction of Daryl Foster and his LIFT company.

In 2016, Mr. Sledge performed in Donald McKayle’s Rainbow Round My Shoulder at David H. Koch Theatre in Lincoln Center in New York City.

He credits DCDC’s Associate Artistic Director, Crystal Michelle, as an important influence on his artistry because “she is an astounding choreographer who has poured her years of knowledge into her work at DCDC in such a short time!”

+ Sadale Warner

Philadelphia, PA

Sadale Warner joined the company in 2020. Philadelphia native with Caribbean roots, Sadale discovered dance at the age of 3. She took her first dance class at Broadway Bound Dance Academy and trained with the same studio until moving on to college. She started out with tap. As time went on, she ventured on to ballet, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, pointe, and modern. The studio she trained at was a competition studio, so Sadale was able to travel to many competitions year after year, competing in about four different styles of dance.

During high school, Sadale majored in dance at The Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. After graduating high school, she started her undergrad career at The University of the Arts under the directorship of Donna Faye Butchfield, where she was introduced to different ideas of dance.

Sadale is passionate about expressing herself through movement and sharing the experience with other dancers and the audience. She wants to broaden her creative aspirations with concert and commercial work

+ Countess Winfrey

Nashville, TN

Countess joined the company in 2014. She began her dance training at Dance with Stacy Dance Studio, where she danced more than five years. She also attended Wharton Arts Magnet School where she majored in dance and art. She later continued her training at Nashville School of the Arts. Attending college at the University of Memphis, Countess graduated magna cum laude with a BS degree in health and human performance and with a minor in dance in 2011.

She has also participated in a variety of dance festivals including the American High School Dance Festival, the American College Dance Festival (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012), the American Dance Festival, and the David Dorfman Dance Winter Intensive.

After graduating, Countess joined DCDC2 in 2012, where she danced for two years while having the opportunity to perform with the first company in her second year. She has performed works by Paul Taylor, David Dorfman, Rodney A. Brown, Rob Priore, William B. McClellan Jr., and many other choreographers.

JB Fellows

+ Thaliyah Cools-Lartigue

Fairborn, OH

Thaliyah joins the company as JB Fellow for the 2022-'23 season. She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2022 with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Fashion and Retail Studies. She has trained in horton technique, hip hop, ballet, Cunningham technique,West African (Sabar, Lambanm Sinte, Makru) as well as Doug Varone contemporary technique. One highlight of her years of experience was performing in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Thaliyah is looking forward to growing her artistry within the company.

+ Wilhelmina Marks

Mansfield, Ohio

Wilhelmina Marks trained at the Richland Academy of the Arts in primarily ballet, modern, jazz, and tap under Marden Ramos and Sarah Horrigan-Ramos. In 2016 she attended the Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive in the professional division. She holds a BFA in Dance from Wright State University. As an undergraduate, she was able to be a part of Dayton Ballet’s Second Company and had the opportunity to perform in their version of the Great Gatsby and the Nutcracker in her first year of college. Her Sophomore and Junior year she was a part of DCDC2 and was able to dance in a collaborative concert with the University of Dayton Dance Ensemble, perform with the first company in "The Littlest Angel" and "In the Spirit of Abundant Blessings", along with numerous school/church performances in the community. Wilhelmina is looking forward to gaining experience and excited to continue dancing with DCDC as a JB Fellow!

Guest Artists

Sean ferguson
Former DCDC2 Artist
+ sean ferguson
Sean Ferguson (Bellbrook, Ohio) is a Wright State University graduate with his BFA in Dance Performance where he worked with choreographers Elizabeth Ramsey, Stewart/Owen co. and Kiki Lewis. Also being the rehearsal assistant to Teressa McWilliams on her piece “Exits”. Sean attended the 2023 RDA National choreography intensive as a project tier choreographer led by Stephanie Martinez. In 2020, Sean was a member of Dayton Contemporary’s second company working and also performing with the main company’s Christmas production of “Littlest angel”.
Former DCDC Artist
+ amy jones gibbons
Amy Jones-Gibbons is from Huntington, WV and graduated magna cum laude from Point Park University with a BA in Dance. Amy performed professionally with DCDC from 2008-2016 and as a guest artist during their 2017-2018 and current seasons. During the 2014-2015 season Amy directed the pre-professional company, DCDC2, alongside her colleague Rebecca Sparks. In 2019, Am y co-founded and was named the Artistic Director of the Onyx Contemporary Dance Company. In addition to her commitment to Onyx, Amy served on faculty as the DCDC Artist in Residence for the Theatre, Dance, and Performance Technology Program at The University of Dayton and as both Artistic Director and Co-Director of the UD Dance Ensemble from 2016-2023. She was also the resident choreographer for both musicals and operas performed at the University during that time. Amy currently teaches at The MIami Valley Dance Center and Dance Expressions. She looks forward to performing once again with The DCDC in Modern Moves. Amy has created choreography for the Ohio Northern University's Dance Department, WSU's 2015 Faculty Concert, DCDC, DCDC2, Midwest Starz National Talent Com petition, Sinclair Community College, Kaleidoscope Entertainment, and for several dance studios throughout the Midwest. This will be Amy’s 5th year serving as OCDC's Artistic Director.

Live music by

Springfield Symphony Orchestra

Springfield Symphony Orchestra

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) was founded in 1943 by Edwin Juergens, William Minnick, and William Fiedler, the organization’s first conductor. The first complete concert was performed in 1944 at Central Methodist Church in Springfield. In addition to William Fiedler, the SSO has been under the musical direction of seven leaders and, since 2001, current Music Director and Conductor Peter Stafford Wilson.

The SSO performed in Springfield’s Memorial Hall from 1944 to 1985. For the 1985-86 Season, the SSO moved to the North High School Auditorium. During the Symphony’s 50th anniversary season (1993-94), it performed its first in the Kuss Auditorium for the Gala Opening on November 6, 1993.

In 1950, the SSO presented the first Concerts for Young People. Today, Clark, Greene, Champaign, and Madison counties students are bused to Clark State Performing Arts Center’s Kuss Auditorium for performances. These concerts are often the children’s first exposure to symphonic music.

The SSO sponsors a Youth Symphony, Youth Chamber Orchestra, Youth String Ensemble, and Youth Choir. Organized in 1959, the youth orchestra program allows talented young people to develop their musical skills. Although many middle and high schools have string ensembles and/or band programs, the Springfield Youth Symphony provides students and home-schooled students in Clark County the only opportunity to perform in a full orchestral setting. The Children’s Chorus (now called Youth Choir) was formed in 2012 and provides area students to develop vocal skills further and perform choral works in various settings and often in conjunction with professional musicians.

The SSO presents a free outdoor concert for the Springfield Arts Council’s Summer Arts Festival during the summer. The SSO also presents special outreach programs called Lunch on the Lawn, featuring small ensembles that perform during the lunch hour at the Springfield Museum of Art.

In 2019, the Springfield Symphony Jazz Orchestra was founded under the direction of Todd Stoll, Springfield native and VP of Education for Jazz at Lincoln Center (NY).

For more information on the SSO, please call the administrative office at 937-325-8100.

Peter at Podium

Music Director
Peter Stafford Wilson

+ Full bio

Peter Stafford Wilson is enjoying his twenty-second season as Music Director of the Springfield Symphony in Ohio as well a multi-year history as Music Director of the Westerville Symphony.

 He recently concluded a highly successful ten year relationship as Principal Conductor of the Tulsa Ballet, where, in addition to the core repertoire, he collaborated with  such noted choreographers as Edwaard Liang, Val Caniparolli and Ma Cong on the creation of new works.  Wilson has also served BalletMet/Columbus, where he has led over 150 performances for the Company in Columbus and at the Michigan Opera Theater in Detroit. He recently appeared with the Philadelphia Ballet for a celebrated production of Gisele at the historic Academy of Music. This season, in addition to his debut with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Wilson also makes his first appearance with the Oklahoma City Ballet.

 A native of North Carolina, Wilson studied at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where his primary mentor was Thomas Schippers. His studies also took him to the Aspen Music School,  Eastern Music Festival (on whose faculty he subsequently served), Pierre Monteux School, Boris Goldovsky Summer Opera Institute and Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, where he was associated with Franco Ferrara.

 After his advanced studies, he was appointed Assistant, and later Associate Conductor of the Canton (OH) Symphony Orchestra. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra named him Regional Pops Conductor, where he led the orchestra in a series of widely acclaimed performances in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. In 1990, he joined the staff of the Columbus Symphony, where he has appeared regularly on all subscription and outreach series. Wilson recently concluded his 28-year tenure with the CSO and became the third recipient of the George Hardesty Award for Outstanding Leadership of the Orchestra. He also enjoyed a longtime association with The Cleveland Orchestra, where he served as cover conductor for concerts at Severance Hall and the Blossom Music Center. He has recently guest conducted the orchestras of Indianapolis, Detroit, Seattle, Syracuse, Erie, Hong Kong, Montevideo, Shenzhen, and has appeared at the Chautauqua Institute. Wilson has twice appeared at New York’s iconic Carnegie Hall, conducting the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra to great acclaim. His dedication to young musicians and audiences resulted in the Greater Columbus Arts Council bestowing its Educator of the Year award in 2018.

SuJean Kim, violin
David Smarelli, violin

Violin I
Lesa Deborde*
Maureen Case
Carlos Elias
Katie Harford

Violin II
Monica Hill*
Sheila Santa
Barbi Garrett
Heather York

Jennifer Neumayr*
Melanie Mason
Paul Van Ausdal

Joseph Mueller*
Shelbi Wagner

Tony Neumayr*

Eric Knechtges*

* Principal

Donors &

The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company staff and dance artists thanks our sponsors for their continued investment in our mission. With their support, we are able to continue to bring high-quality and varied performances to the stage. Become a sponsor today!


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Dayton Contemporary Dance Company would not be who we are without your generous donations. We want to thank the many individuals, corporations, government entities, and foundations who continuously invest in our company and help facilitate our work.

  • Gifts of $100,000.00+     

    Mellon Foundation

    Virginia W. Kettering Foundation  


    Gifts of $10,000.00 - 99,999.00  

    AES Ohio Foundation

    George, Agnes

    Gosiger Foundation 

    Harry A. Toulmin, Jr. and Virginia B. Toulmin Fund

    Miriam Rosenthal Foundation for the Arts

    Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District

    Shubert Foundation, Inc

    Trittschuh, Larry & Abby

  • Gifts of $1,000.00 - 9,999.00       

    Allegro Fund

    Arts and Cultural Development Fund

    Benson, Paul

    Bigler, Lois

    Blunden, Jeraldyne

    Blunden-Diggs, Debbie

    Brame, Kevin

    Brown, Clinton

    Brzozowska, Phyllis

  • CDO Technologies

    Civista Bank

    Cosby, Marva

    Davis Grotto, Sharon

    Dayton Contemporary Dance Company Endowment Fund

    Dayton Rotary Club Foundation

    Diven, Dave

    Duby, John

    Earley, Stanley

    Harris, Charlotte

    Hofstra, Kristine

    Jackson, Arthur

    Jordan, Rowena

    Kreutzer, Judith

    Logan, Deirdre

    McCormick, Judy 

    McDonald, Kevin

    Mercer, Kelly 

    Myers, Joan

    Peters Brame, Rosemary

    Petitjean, Steve

    PNC Bank

    Rollins, Ronald

    Ryterband, Sarah

    TWENTIG, Incorporated

    Wells, Kevin

    Williams, Sharon

    Wright, Michael

  • Gifts up to 999.00              

    Bartenstein, Frederick

    Dickens, Duane

    Glynn, James 

    Hines, Susan

    Kim and Shelley Goldenberg Fund

    Lain, Laurence

    LeRoy, Gary

    McCollum, Alice

  • Moyer, Monti

  • Righter, Karen

  • Robinson, Herbert 

  • Schaff, Irving 

  • Snow, Monica

  • Thomas, Elva 

  • Tomlinson, John

  • Whitney, Betsy

A special thanks goes out to our community of volunteers, individual supporters and organizations listed below. With their assistance in Dayton and surrounding areas, we continue to celebrate the 55th Anniversary of DCDC.


Patricia Allen Day

Phyllis Brzozowska

Angela Burdon

Dawn Carter

Thaliyah Cools-Lartigue

Jacqueline Colvard

Cassandra Crowley

Lonnie Davis, Jr.

Willis Bing Davis

Christian Davell

Sean Ferguson

Rick Flynn

Kirsten Fricke

Michael Groomes

Gary Harris

David Hastings

Amy Jones

Preetamdas Kirtana

Michael London

Sierra McCurtis

Karen Moon Thomas

Terry Morris

Natalie Nagy

Julie Nakagawa

Terrelia Ogletree

DeShona Pepper-Robertson

Kelsa Rieger

Robin Sampson FaFiade
Staci Shockley-Matthews
Sierra Smith
Sharon Smith
Rodney Veal
Gina Walther
Darlene West
Karen Wick-Gagnet
Sheri Williams
Joe Williams-Willy Barret
Belinda Wright
Vanae Wright Pate


Come see us again at our next performance

Feel alive this April!

DCDC2 | Pre-Professional Company

April 27, 7:30 PM   |   April  28, 4:00 PM
University of Dayton, Boll Theatre

The Dayton Contemporary Dance Second Company  (DCDC2) April performances are included in the season’s offerings. Artistic Director Shonna Hickman-Matlock will commission young and seasoned choreographers to explore themes of living with and without freedom. DCDC2 concerts remain an immensely popular means of enjoying the next generation of dance artists.

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