Dallas — Lots of announcements from Dallas Black Dance Theatre this week. The big news is that after more than a year of searching, the organization has named a replacement for retiring founder and artistic director Ann Williams. She is April Berry, who has worked with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Bill T. Jones and many others. She starts Sept. 2, 2014. You can read more about her in the press release below.
Also, DBDT's 38th season has been announced, and it's bigger than ever, including a performance in Richardson at the Eisemann Center. There will also be the full season in Dallas, the usual spring show in Fort Worth, and the New York and touring performances. The season will feature works by Alvin Ailey, Gene Hill Sagan, Elisa Monte and others. More info on the season is below the release about April Berry.
Here's the release about the hiring of April Berry:
April Berry, whose resume’ reads like the Who’s Who of the modern dance world has been named to succeed founder Ann Williams as the Artistic Director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT).
Master teacher, dance educator, choreographer and internationally recognized dancer, Berry is a native of New York. She began her professional training at the National Academy of Ballet and Theatre Arts in New York City and continued her training on scholarships at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
As a former principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Judith Jamison taught her the role of the umbrella woman in the ''Wading in the Water'' segment of Mr. Ailey's signature ''Revelations.'' She has danced with other ballet companies in the United States, Italy and Switzerland. Her career as a dancer allowed her to work directly with renowned choreographers and artists including Alvin Ailey, Katherine Dunham, Talley Beatty, Arthur Mitchell, Judith Jamison, Carmen DeLavallade, Donald McKayle, Bill T. Jones and more.
As a choreographer, Ms. Berry’s accomplishments include original choreography for Debbie Allen’s The Chocolate Nutcracker, and Richard Adler’s Tony – award winning musical Kwamina.
Prior to accepting the position with DBDT, Ms. Berry served as adjunct dance faculty at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte with teaching areas that include modern dance and improvisation. She was a Teaching Artist in the Charlotte Arts and Science Council’s Education Program and founded the Arts ‘n Community, dedicated to providing specialized services to small and emerging arts organizations in the United States.
She also previously served as Teaching Artist for Project L.I.F.T./Arts and Science Council STEAM Camps, a Modern Dance Instructor for the American Dance Festival School (ADF) and freelance choreographer. She served as the Director of Education at North Carolina Dance Theatre in Charlotte and Director of Education and Community Programs at BalletMet Columbus. She also has taught for The Ohio State University, and the Charlotte Ballet. She was artist in residence at Denison University.
Ms. Berry is a certified master instructor in Dunham Technique, a codified modern dance technique created by American dance pioneer, Katherine Dunham. She was personally certified by Miss Dunham and has the special distinction of having worked directly with Dunham.
“I am thrilled to become a part of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre family as Artistic Director and to contribute to the next phase of the company’s journey,” said Ms. Berry.
It is a privilege to follow in the footsteps of Ann Williams, a great leader, whose vision has elevated Dallas Black Dance Theatre to prominent national status. I will honor the company’s rich history and legacy and maintain the organization’s standard of excellence as we move together toward a strong and exciting future.”
Ann Williams, who founded DBDT in 1976, will remain actively involved with the organization for the next several months to assist with the transition of the new director. Afterwards, Ms. Williams says that she will remain supportive and continue to seek funding opportunities for the organization as well as attending programs, master classes and workshops. “Next year, I am looking forward to completely stepping back and enjoying DBDT from afar,” said Williams.
Ms. Berry will begin working with the company full time on September 2, 2014.
And here's more about the season:
The 38th Season will be one full of new and exciting changes for Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Returning to the AT&T Performing Arts Center Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre for three series of performances, the Company is introducing a new series in November – the Director’s Choice.
The Director’s Choice, presented by Texas Instruments, will celebrate the choreography of contemporarydance masters Alvin Ailey, Gene Hill Sagan, and Elisa Monte. With choreographic support provided by NorthPark Center and the Jean Baptiste “Tad” Adoue III Fund of The Dallas Foundation a new work will also be premiered by former DBDT dancer and current professor of dance at Point Park University, Garfield Lemonius.
Also new this season, both performing companies, DBDT and DBDT II will travel north of the Metroplex to Richardson for one night only to the Charles W. Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts. Dancing Beyond Borders North is an expansion of the popular series, Beyond Borders annually held at the W. E. Scott Theatre in Ft. Worth. The companies will present audience favorites from their Dallas Seasons.
In addition to introducing fresh and enticing new works and traveling to new spaces, the company is introducing a new brand. Gone is the box that once encased the dancer and organization name. Replacing that is a fresh new look and new tagline “Relentless Excellence.”
“Organizational change creates opportunities to re-examine and implement new ideas that emphasize the focus and direction for the future” said Sheena Payne, DBDT Board Vice President of Marketing. “The fresh look that we have adopted for our new logo captures the essence of the past and promises a commitment to excellence that will be relentless.”
The season schedule includes the following:
- DanceAfrica – September 19 and 20, 2014 – Montgomery Arts Theater, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
- Black on Black- Choreographer’s Challenge – October 10, 2014 – Dallas Black Dance Theatre Studios
- Director’s Choice – October 31 through November 2, 2014 – Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
- Behind the Scenes – November 24 through 26, 2014 – Dallas Black Dance Theatre Studios
- 19th Annual Founder’s Luncheon – January 9, 2015 – Hilton Anatole
- Cultural Awareness – February 20 through 22, 2015 – Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
- Dancing Beyond Borders (West) – March 20, 2015 – W. E. Scott Theatre, Ft. Worth
- Dancing Beyond Borders (North) – March 27, 2015 – Charles W. Eisemann Center for Performing Arts
- Spring Fiesta! DBDT II – April 10 and 11, 2015 – City Performance Hall
- Masterworks Redefined (New York) – April 17 and 18 – Ailey Citigroup Theater
- Spring Celebration – May 15 through 17, 2015 – Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
Season subscriptions and individual tickets will be available beginning August 18. For questions or to purchase tickets, contact the DBDT ticketing office at 214.871.2390 or contact via the web at www.dbdt.com.