Black Dance Theatre Members Share Love of Dance with Local Youth

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Dancers line up to practice for their final performance at the Carver’s Summer Dance Intensive Program taught by Dallas Black Dance Theatre professional dancers.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Dancers line up to rehearse for their final performance at the Carver’s Summer Dance Intensive taught by members of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre.

Young dancers between the ages of 8-18 got the opportunity to learn technique and choreography from professional dancers as part of a 10-day summer dance intensive at the Carver Community Cultural Center.

Three professional dancers from the Dallas Black Dance Theatre – Kayah Franklin, Claude Alexander III, and De’Anthony Vaughan – led the dance sessions each day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in preparation for a recital Friday night.

"We're excited to have the opportunity to have Dallas Black Dance Theater back for our dance intensive," said Andrew Gordon, the Carver's education coordinator. "This is their sixth year with the Carver conducting this camp, and it's a tremendous opportunity for the dance students to learn from professionals and to learn multiple disciplines of dance."

Dancers practice for their final performance at the Carver’s Summer Dance Intensive Program taught by Dallas Black Dance Theatre professional dancers.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Dancers practice for their final performance at the Carver’s Summer Dance Intensive taught by professionals from the Dallas Black Dance Theatre.

The Dallas Black Dance Theatre, founded in 1976 by Ann Williams, is the oldest professional dance company that has continuously operated in the Dallas area and is the 10th largest minority arts organization in the United States.

The company was founded to "inspire minority boys and girls to appreciate dance as an art form and to realize the possibility of dance as a means to express their creativity," according to its website.

The DBDT has been designated as an “American Masterpiece Touring Artist” by the National Endowment for the Arts and was named ws a Texas Medal of Arts award recipient for Arts Education.

Students interested in the art of dance were able to sign up for the intensive and take modern, jazz, or African dance classes ranging from beginner to advanced levels. Cassandra Parker-Nowicki, the Carver's cultural center supervisor, said the dancers were separated into two groups based on age and skill level.

Dancers stretch during practice at Carver’s Summer Dance Intensive Program taught by Dallas Black Dance Theatre professional dancers.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Dancers stretch during Carver’s Summer Dance Intensive taught by members of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre.

"The quality of instructors is always exceptional," Parker-Nowicki told the Rivard Report. "How many kids this age get to work with professional dancers?"

The recital showcasing the combined efforts and new skills of the students is scheduled for Friday, June 21, at 7 p.m. at the Jo Long Theatre. The dance instructors also will participate in portions of the recital. Tickets are $11 and can be purchased at the Carver box office or Ticketmaster. For more information, call 210-207-7211.

"The instructors approach this dance intensive as though they are training dancers for a career, so they don't underestimate the [students'] abilities and they push them, so there's a mutual respect,"Parker-Nowicki said. "Every year, the students rise to the challenge. By the end of the two weeks, students have grown exponentially because [they are] challenged."

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