Dance troupes cover engaging themes

A look at the dance offerings in 2014-15 in the Miami Valley.

Dayton Ballet’s impressively revamped production of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” a hit last year featuring gorgeous new choreography by artistic director Karen Russo Burke, striking new costumes by Lowell Mathwich, and terrific new sets by Ray Zupp, will certainly be a highlight of the area’s upcoming dance season.

In addition to “Nutcracker,” which will be refreshingly accented once again by the lush strains of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by DPO music director Neal Gittleman, Dayton Ballet particularly plans an innovative program entitled “Creative Convergence.” Comprised of four new works, “Creative Convergence” includes a world premiere conceived by Burke and DPAA composer-in-residence Stella Stung (who wrote an excellent fanfare for last season’s DPAA “Season Opening Spectacular”) in addition to a local premiere by Gina Patterson entitled “You Are Here.”

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s lineup is equally promising. Stressing entertainment in the desire to build new audiences, artistic director Debbie Blunden-Diggs has assembled one of the organization’s most pop and jazz-friendly slates in recent memory.

“Hitsville USA,” one of two DCDC dinner theater-esque events this season, is sure to appeal to baby boomers longing for the nostalgic Motown sounds of Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, The Supremes, and more. Also, DCDC’s presentation of Charles Tazewell’s poignant “The Littlest Angel” will offer an alternative to traditional holiday fare.

Tributes to Duke Ellington (choreographed by Robert Priore and featuring the Dayton Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Willie Morris) and Broadway (the theme of the organization’s annual Soulstice gala) have the potential to electrify the spring. In addition, former DCDC member DeShonna Pepper Robertson, dance instructor at Stivers School for the Arts, will create a new work for the Dayton Ballet’s season opener “Ghost Stories.”

Elsewhere, expect lovely repertory from Gem City Ballet under the artistic direction of Barbara Pontecorvo, energizing routines from SMAG Dance Collective guided by founder Michael Grommes, exciting premieres from area colleges (particularly Sinclair’s “New Adventures in Dance” overseen by choreographer/teacher/TV host Rodney Veal), and the Dayton Dance Festival, an all-new collaborative event conceived by the aforementioned Grommes incorporating various troupes across the Miami Valley.

Here’s a look at local dance organizations and their schedules.


Dayton Ballet

Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton, and Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. (937) 228-3630 or www.ticketcenterstage.comOct. 23-26: “Ghost Stories”

Dec. 12-22: “The Nutcracker”

Feb. 12-15, 2015: “Creative Convergence”

March 20-22, 2015: “Peter Pan”

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company

Dayton Marriott, 1414 S. Patterson Blvd., Dayton; University of Dayton Kennedy Union Boll Theatre, 300 College Park, Dayton; Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton; Kroc Center, 1000 N. Keowee St., Dayton; DCDC Studios, 840 Germantown St., Dayton; Dayton Masonic Center, 525 W. Riverview Ave., Dayton; University of Dayton Kennedy Union Boll Theatre, 300 College Park, Dayton; Great Hall of Sinclair Community College Conference Center, 444 W. Third St., Dayton. (937) 228-3630 or

Nov. 1: “Hitsville USA”

Dec. 5-6: “The Littlest Angel”

Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2015: “HeartShakes”

March 14, 2015: “Get Up and Dance”

March 27, 2015: “Up Close and Personal with Robert Priore”

April 18, 2015: “An Evening of Ellington”

April 26, 2015: DCDC2: “Definition of Exquisite”

May 16, 2015: “Soulstice: Broadway Nights”

Dayton Dance Festival

March 21-22, 2015: TBA

Gem City Ballet

(937) 550-4931 or

Oct. 10-12: Fall Repertory (Stuart Sebastian Performance Space, 20 Commercial Way, Springboro)

Feb. 28-March 1, 2015: “Sleeping Beauty” with the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra (Dayton Masonic Center, 525 W. Riverview Ave., Dayton)

April 17-19, 2015: Spring Repertory (Stuart Sebastian Performance Space)

Pontecorvo Ballet Studios

Stuart Sebastian Performance Space, 20 Commercial Way, Springboro. (937) 550-9245 or

Nov. 22-23: “The Nutcracker”

May/June 2015: “Coppelia”

SMAG Dance Collective

Dec. 20-21: “An Urban Nutcracker”

May 23, 2015: “Spring Fling”

Sinclair Community College

444 W. Third St. Blair Hall Theatre, Building 2. (937) 512-2808 or

May 15-16, 2015: “New Adventures in Dance”

University of Dayton

300 College Park, Kennedy Union, Boll Theatre. (937) 229-2545.

Nov. 21-22: UD Dance Ensemble Fall Concert

April 17-18, 2015: UD Dance Ensemble Spring Concert

Wright State University

3640 Col. Glenn Hwy., Fairborn, Creative Arts Center. (937) 775-2500.

April 23-26, 2015: WSU Dance Ensemble Spring Concert

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