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50 for 50 | Dallas Black Dance Theatre

Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT) is a nationally and internationally recognized professional modern dance company with the goal to create and perform modern dance of the ultimate level that will bridge cultures and reach diverse communities. It is the largest minority arts organization in Dallas and the tenth largest in the nation. The DBDT is also the oldest dance company in Dallas.

DBDT was founded in 1976 by Ann Williams, who is also a founding member of the Dance Council of North Texas, the advisory board of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and The International Association of Blacks in Dance. She is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University and is the first African American to earn a master’s in dance and related arts from Texas Woman’s University.


Under her direction for 40 years, the dance company evolved from a community-based, semi-professional organization to a full professional company.


The DBDT is under the direction of Executive Director Zenetta Drew, who oversees the professional and administrative staff and is responsible for the daily operations of the company. Drew also works with a 50-member board of directors whose primary responsibilities are fundraising and oversight.


The DBDT is comprised of five companies and an academy. The Black Dance Academy, founded in 1974, is the official school of the DBDT, offering classes in ballet jazz, tap and other dance disciplines for ages 4 and up. More than 550 students per week are trained at the academy.


The professional company, DBDT, includes 12 full-time professional dancers performing modern jazz, African and spiritual works by national and international choreographers that come from across the country, as well as from international locations such as British Columbia and Trinidad and Tobago. With an ever-expanding audience around the world, the company employs a diverse and multi-ethnic troupe of dancers that reaches audiences of all backgrounds and ages.


DBDT: Encore! was formed in 2000 to keep up with the performance demand while continuing to serve the local community. The company consists of eight classically trained and highly skilled dancers from around the nation. Encore! has grown in popularity over the years, entertaining audiences with its fresh and creative appeal and performs annually in the Moody Performance Hall.


Throughout the years, Dallas Black Dance Theatre has performed for over 4 million people, 2.6 million children and audiences in 15 countries, including two Olympic cultural events, on five continents and 31 states. Annually, the company performs for more than 40,000 youth in grades K through 12.

The DBDT is located in the historic Moorland YMCA building in the Dallas Arts District, which serves as the primary home for its dance studios, training classrooms and administrative offices. Their performance home is the AT&T Performing Arts Center - Dee and Charles Wyly Theater.

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