Dayton dance company performs at NASIC

  • Published
  • By Air Force Senior Airman Justyn Freeman
  • National Air and Space Intelligence Center
In honor of Black History Month, dancers from the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company performed at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center Feb. 27.

The performance was sponsored by the center's Black Employment Program and Black Awareness Observance Committee, in conjunction with the Equal Opportunity Team. The EOT is a NASIC committee formed to support diversity programs throughout the center. They also provide entertainment or speakers for every month of the year devoted to diversity or ethnic groups.

Darla Hopkins is NASIC's lead program manager for the EOT.

"My job is to bring in speakers or performers for guest lecture speaker series," said Hopkins. "We experienced the DCDC at its best in support of the Black History month, which is part of the EOT diversity program."

NASIC EOT brings people who are able to support the event and, in turn, the center provides a little tour of what occurs do behind these walls.

"I love interacting with people outside of NASIC and trying to enlighten them on what we do here so they can share with us what they do," said Hopkins.

The DCDC was founded by Dayton-native Jeralydyne Blunden in 1968 and the company has been touring the world ever since, performing in places ranging from China to New Zealand and for celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Maya Angelo.

"DCDC is the second oldest black modern dance company in the country. This is our 48th season, I believe," said Nabachwa Ssensalo, a DCDC dancer. "A lot of young dancers can read about us in the dance history books and see videos of us online. People are striving to come here."

The company's mission statement says "rooted in the African-American experience, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is a culturally diverse contemporary dance company committed to reaching the broadest audience through exceptional performance and arts-integrated education."

In 1973, the DCDC became the first African-American dance company to gain membership as a Performing Company in the Northeast Regional Ballet Association.

"We've been all over the world," said DCDC dancer Devin Baker. "The DCDC is one of the most honest and giving organizations I've seen in a long time."

The company's performance at NASIC was recorded and put on a DVD that can be checked out at the library.

The event ended with an impromptu dance from NASIC Commander Col. Leah Lauderback and the DCDC dancers.