On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Ann M. Williams, the founder and artistic adviser of Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and Zenetta S. Drew, its executive director.
Williams founded Dallas Black Dance Theatre in 1976 to inspire minority boys and girls to appreciate dance as an art form and to realize the possibility of dance as a means to express their creativity. The theater offers dance opportunities for the entire population, regardless of race, age or circumstance, through professional dance concert performances, arts-in-education programs, community outreach activities and dance classes.
The mission of Dallas Black Dance Theatre is to create and produce contemporary modern dance at its highest level of artistic excellence through performances and educational programs that bridge cultures and reach diverse communities. With an ever-expanding national and global audience, the company employs a diverse, multi-ethnic troupe of dancers performing for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Located in a historic facility at the eastern end of the thriving downtown Dallas Arts District, Dallas Black Dance Theatre is a nationally and internationally recognized professional modern dance company. DBDT engages the cross-cultural community through contemporary modern dance presented from the African-American experience.
During its 40-year history, Dallas Black Dance Theatre has performed on five continents, in 15 countries and 31 states, including two Olympic Cultural events. Over the years, more than 4 million arts patrons and 2.6 million students, grades K-12, have experienced the dance company's performances and educational outreach programs. DBDT serves more than 100,000 people annually, including more than 20,000 youth in grades K-12 in Dallas-Fort Worth area schools.
Dallas Black Dance Academy, the official school of Dallas Black Dance Theatre, celebrates 43 years of delivering dance instruction to a community of diverse backgrounds. Over 500 students participate weekly in 50 dance classes of ballet, jazz, tap, modern, and African at DBDT studios for ages four to adult. The academy has three performing ensembles: Allegro, DBDT's premier academy ensemble, Senior Performing Ensemble, and Junior Performing Ensemble.