Collaboration, new works bolster 2023-2024 season


The 2023-2024 season in dance across the Dayton area will offer a vibrant array of refreshing collaborations, exciting new works and returning favorites.

Entering its 86th season, Dayton Ballet ushers in a new era of diverse, generational change with Brandon Ragland as its new artistic director. With more than 15 years as a ballet professional, Ragland comes to Dayton from the Louisville Ballet, where he was a principal dancer, managed the Louisville Ballet School’s pre-professional program and served as resident choreographer. He will handpick the repertoire for Dayton Ballet’s spring concert “New Beginnings” in addition to overseeing the beautifully dark “Dracula: Bloodlines” featuring Austin Jaquith’s spooky score and the organization’s final presentation of its Ray Zupp-designed iteration of “The Nutcracker.”



“Just being here in Dayton, I can feel the energy, the revitalization of art that’s going to take place,” Ragland previously said. “I don’t take this opportunity lightly. I do believe representation matters, and there are people of color who love ballet and want to see ballet move forward. I’m looking forward to all future collaborations with multiple dance organizations here and abroad, bringing the best to Dayton and showing the world the best of Dayton. I’m very excited.”

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company celebrates its 55th anniversary season with a return to the Victoria Theatre in October, December and February. “In Good Company” will highlight Denver-based Cleo Parker Robinson Dance along with a new work created for DCDC by Charles Anderson, The Ohio State University Dance Department Chair. In time for the holidays, “In the Spirit of… Grace,” featuring “In My Father’s House” choreographed by DCDC Artistic Director Debbie Blunden-Diggs, will stir emotions as company members perform alongside the Community Gospel Choir under the direction of DCDC Music Director Deron Bell. “Modern Moves,” slated during Black History Month, will showcase DCDC as the first majority African American company to perform legendary choreographer Paul Taylor’s “Esplanade,” an acclaimed modern contemporary dance work spotlighting pedestrian movement that premiered in New York in 1975. The anniversary season, which includes touring engagements with Arbogast Performing Arts Center and Clark State Performing Arts Center, concludes in April with DCDC2, the pre-professional ensemble under the leadership of Artistic Director Shonna Hickman-Matlock, exploring themes of what it means to live with and without freedom.

“I am so excited to enter into the 55th season and what that means for a Black company in the Midwest,” Blunden-Diggs said. “We look forward to inspiring both audiences and dancer artists creating transformational experiences for everyone. Make DCDC a part of your living Black history.”

Elsewhere: Arbogast Performing Arts Center will host Dayton Playhouse and Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of “West Side Story” choreographed by Paulio Sóvári; Clark State Performing Arts Center supplies 360 ALLSTARS, a “supercharged urban circus” combining BMX, basketball, breakdancing, acrobatics, drumming and more; Dayton Live will present “Cirque Dreams Holidaze”; Gem City Ballet’s 32nd season will include fall, winter and spring repertory; Pontecorvo Ballet Studios and South Dayton School of Dance will mount “The Nutcracker”; and Wright State University’s Nutter Center will bring back Cirque du Soleil’s North America arena tour of “Corteo,” a stunning display of athleticism and theatrical magic. First produced in Montreal in 2005 and outstandingly presented at the Nutter Center in 2019, “Corteo,” which means cortege in Italian, centers on a clown who imagines his own funeral taking place within a festive carnival atmosphere.

Also, area colleges will offer many premieres. Wright State University’s spring concert will showcase a varied program of classical ballet and cutting-edge contemporary dance. University of Dayton’s Dance Ensemble will take the stage for the aforementioned “In Freedom,” created in partnership with DCDC2.

Arbogast Performing Arts Center

500 S. Dorset Rd., Troy

937-418-8392 or

The Arbogast Performing Arts Center’s goal is “to bring added value to regional schools and the greater Miami Valley area with enhanced programs in performing and visual arts.”

Nov. 10-12, 2023: “West Side Story”

Dec. 3, 2023: “Le Petit Cirque – Christmas Show”

Feb. 24, 2024: “Motown with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and The Deron Bell Band” Mar. 2, 2024: “Fairytales on Ice: Peter Pan”

Clark State Performing Arts Center

Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 S. Fountain Ave., Springfield

937-328-3874 or

Clark State Performing Arts Center delivers national tours and concerts annually.

Feb. 4, 2024: 360 ALLSTARS

Apr. 13, 2024: Dayton Contemporary Dance Company with Springfield Symphony Orchestra

Dayton Ballet

Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton, and Schuster Center, 1 W. Second St., Dayton

937-228-3630 or

One of the oldest ballet companies in the United States, Dayton Ballet has become known for producing new works as well as traditional ballets. The organization is also the only dance company to establish a fund specifically to create new, full-length 21st century ballets.

Oct. 27-29, 2023: “Dracula: Bloodlines”

Dec. 8-17, 2023: “The Nutcracker”

Feb. 16-18, 2024: “Swan Lake”

Apr. 12-14, 2024: “New Beginnings”

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company

Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton

937-228-3232 or

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company has provided artistry rooted in the African-American experience while drawing from diverse, nationally recognized and emerging choreographers.

Oct. 14-15, 2023: “In Good Company”

Dec. 2-3, 2023: “In the Spirit of… Grace”

Feb. 17-18, 2024: “In Modern Moves”

Apr. 27-28, 2024: “In Freedom” (University of Dayton Boll Theatre)

Dayton Dance Initiative

PNC Arts Annex, 46 W. Second St., Dayton

Completely dancer-driven, Dayton Dance Initiative strives to bring together dancers and the Gem City community through collaboration and creativity.

TBA: Spring Concert

Dayton Live

Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton

937-228-3630 or

Dayton Live provides a variety of performances on its Project Unlimited Star Attractions lineup including dance-themed shows.

Dec. 15-17, 2023: “Cirque Dreams Holidaze”



Gem City Ballet

Stuart Sebastian Performance Space, 20 Commercial Way, Springboro

937-550-9245 or

Founded by Barbara Pontecorvo in 1992, Gem City Ballet, originally known as Ballet de Jeunesse, was conceived to educate young dancers in the joys and rigors of ballet, to make quality ballet performances available to a wide audience, and provide new and experienced choreographers a chance to create new works.

Oct. 20-21, 2023: Fall Repertory Performance

Dec. 10, 2023: Holiday with the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra (Dayton Masonic Center)

Feb. 16-17, 2024: Winter Repertory Performance

Apr. 19-20, 2024: Spring Repertory Performance

Miami University Performing Arts Series

119 Center for Performing Arts, Oxford

513-529-3200 or

Miami University’s programming prides itself on diverse, thought-provoking works.

Mar. 1, 2024: Celtic Angels, Ireland

Pontecorvo Ballet Studios

Stuart Sebastian Performance Space, 20 Commercial Way, Springboro

937-550-9245 or

Spearheaded by Barbara Pontecorvo, Pontecorvo Ballet Studios trains young dancers to enter the world of professional dance.

Nov. 11-12, 2023: “The Nutcracker”

June 2, 2024: “Cinderella”

Sinclair Community College

444 W. Third St., Blair Hall Theatre, Building 2, Dayton

937-512-2808 or

Sinclair features students in multiple genres of dance.


South Dayton School of Dance

101 E. Alex Bell Rd. #130, Centerville

937-435-5052 or

South Dayton School of Dance specializes in classical ballet, jazz, modern, tap, pre-ballet and other disciplines.

Dec. 2-3 2023: “The Nutcracker” (Dayton Masonic Center)

University of Dayton

Kennedy Union Boll Theatre, 300 College Park, Dayton

937-229-2545 or

UD Dance Ensemble continues its annual collaboration with the repertory training ensemble of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company in addition to contributing to an original dance theatre production.

Apr. 27-28, 2024: “In Freedom”

Wright State University

Creative Arts Center, 3640 Col. Glenn Hwy., Dayton

937-775-2500 or

Wright State will present world premieres by WSU faculty and guest artists.

Apr. 18-21, 2024: Spring Concert

Wright State University Nutter Center

3640 Col. Glenn Hwy., Dayton

937-775-1000 or

Nov. 16-19, 2023: Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo”


The fall arts season is underway. Throughout September, we’re bringing you season schedules and highlights for arts groups throughout the region.

Sept. 3: Theater

Sept. 10: Music

Sept. 17: Dance

Sept. 24: Visual arts

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