DCDC2 performance honors barrier-breaking history

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s preprofessional ensemble, DCDC2, will perform When Dance Transcends Barriers: A Story of Jewish & African American Dance in Dayton at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 7 at Beth Jacob Congregation.

The original work celebrates the legacies of DCDC founder Jeraldyne Blunden, and her longtime mentors, Dayton Ballet founders Josephine and Hermene Schwarz.

Blunden established DCDC in 1968 as an ensemble rooted in the African American experience. Two decades before, she was one of the first students at Josephine Schwarz’s Linden Center Dance School on Dayton’s West Side.

The Schwarz sisters saw to it that Blunden, their star pupil, attended the American Dance Festival, where she learned from Martha Graham, José Limon, George Balanchine, and James Truitte.

When “Miss Jo” asked the 19-year-old Blunden to take over the Linden Center Dance School, Jeraldyne’s School of the Dance was born. And when her dancers began to get hired by Dance Theatre of Harlem and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Blunden decided it was time to start her own professional African American dance company, DCDC.

The Schwarz sisters continued to mentor Blunden as DCDC rose to national and international acclaim.

Blunden established DCDC2 in 1975 for recent graduates and undergraduates to further their dance training and performance experience.

When Dance Transcends Barriers is co-sponsored by Beth Jacob Congregation and the Dayton Jewish Community Relations Council, with funding from a Jewish Federation Innovation Grant.

Beth Jacob is located at 7020 N. Main St., Harrison Township. Tickets are $18 and may be purchased in advance here or at the door. Groups of four or more may purchase tickets in advance at $10 each here.

To read the complete April 2024 Dayton Jewish Observer, click here.

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