Dance group dazzles & excites XU

The Dayton Comtemporary Dance Company impressed Xavier audiences

Photo courtesy of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center | The nationally recognized Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, as pictured here during a performance for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, came to Xavier and provided a thrilling show for attendees.

The nationally recognized Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) dazzled Gallagher Student Center Theater on Friday, Nov. 5. The performance was organized by the Xavier music series in conjunction with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, as well as the Alumni Association, to kick off Alumni Weekend.

For the past 50 years, DCDC has prided their focus on creating performance opportunities for dancers of color and a platform for performances that share the African-American experience.

The first act of the night, “Wawa Aba,” was named after a seed that symbolizes toughness, hardness and perseverance to the Akan people of Ghana. The choreography exhibited sharp, powerful moves that highlighted the athleticism of the dancers.

The first two sections of “Wawa Aba” were set to music by Afro-Brazilian samba outfit Grupo Batuque and transitioned to doo-wop by 70s group Labelle.

The final section was accompanied by the dancer’s stomps as they conducted a Zimbabwean chant. The dancers condensed into a diamond formation, their stomping feet slowly picking up the pace.

By the time the piece was almost over, their feet pounded the floor so hard it was a wonder they didn’t tunnel through the stage. The audience sat transfixed as their thundering feet reached a climax in a final deafening stomp.

The second act of the night included excerpts from the show Stepping Into Season. “Stepping Into Season” featured the jazz music of contemporary African-American trumpeteer Wynton Marsalis.

Brazen brass melodies and lively percussion were accented with soaring lifts and leaps. The expressiveness of each dancer provided dynamic storytelling as the audience was brought through the journey of life in community, romance and personal reflection.

For their final act, “Shed,” the curtains rose upon the dancers concealed in black, raincoat-like jackets. They began to dance in sync to a spoken word poem by John De Kadt, entitled “This Rhythm Is Not Mine,” accompanied by percussion that emphasized identity within community.

As the music transitioned to electronic dance music, the dancers begin to show their own individuality. They shed their jackets and allowed their authentic selves to emerge. Dancers showed off high leg extensions, dizzying pirouettes and ambitious leaps. One dancer threw in a burst of flossing, to the humour of the crowd.

The audience burst into applause as the curtain settled. First-year nursing major Ali Hausfeld was impressed by the group, but not only for their technique.
Hausfeld noted that she had never seen a modern or classical dance company that was not made primarily of White dancers.

“Having a diverse presence, whether it’s on a college campus or anywhere else, is always important,” she said.

Hausfeld also commended the music department’s efforts for the event. “I’m glad that Xavier… makes efforts to promote events like this so that students can get involved and enjoy it.”

By: Heather Gast | Campus News Editor