Dayton Upfront

 Dayton Upfront

Wright State University and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company formalize a new partnership.

By Madison McCray

When two powerhouse organizations unite, great things are expected to transpire. With the new partnership between Wright State University (WSU) and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC), the organizations and community members are ready to make that happen.

Ro Nita Hawes–Saunders, executive director of DCDC, says that DCDC’s third official partnership with a university in the Miami Valley will be beneficial to WSU students and DCDC. In addition to scholarship and exposure opportunities, the partnership will give viewers the chance to witness the artistic visions of a professional dance company at one of the region’s top universities. To that end, Gina Walther, associate professor of dance at WSU and former dancer for DCDC, expresses excitement for this formal agreement. 

“DCDC has a rich culture around Dayton and the country,” she says. “Wright State is in a good position to collaborate with art and make sure that art remains vibrant for the next generation.”

Both WSU and DCDC want to ensure that the coming generations understand that dance is not just a “pass-the-time” hobby. 

Walther attests to the fact that the life of a dancer is difficult, just as most artistic lifestyles tend to be. She says that people often think that the life of a dancer is not a real job. She insists that it is and should be given the same respect as other forms of visual media.

“This is a hard time in the arts for funding and survival,” Walther says. 

She believes this artistic fusion will give them special grant-writing opportunities as well as opportunities for more choreographers and dance instructors to shine through. DCDC and WSU already host annual events that allow dancers and choreographers local and national exposure.

“Wright State dancers will be performing more,” she says.

In addition to annual events, Walther says she is also looking forward to dancers displaying their talent at alumni functions. 

Hawes-Saunders says that she is excited for people to experience their emotions during shows.

“Dancers have a unique ability to use their total person and extend themselves,” says Hawes-Saunders.

She says that it is important for young people to broaden their knowledge of what the world has to offer.

She emphasizes that DCDC’s astonishing talent from around the country, not just the Dayton area, “speaks loudly from the stage.”

Walther adds that the historic partnership “just makes sense.”