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An Expressive Showcase of Luxury Shoes, Handbags, and Accessories
featuring Dallas Black Dance Theatre
Photography by Geof Kern
Top fashion photographer Geof Kern pauses when asked about working with Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT). “The dancers, the performers…were…I just loved them all,” he says. “I wanted every one to be my friend. They are delightful, professional, beautiful people, and they are so talented.”
Each image in Style in Motion for NorthPark The Magazine was designed as a portrait to showcase the artist as well as the fashion. The dancers interacted with the objects, and Kern snapped away.
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“The dancers were ecstatic about this opportunity,” writes DBDT artistic director Melissa Young in an email. “They love collaborating in fun ways that are not related to the stage.” Young was writing from a mountaintop in Macedonia, where the company was working with Association MakeDox on a documentary film that blends African American dance with Romani music.
The NorthPark shoot went so well that the Style in Motion spread swelled to 14 pages from its original budget of six.
“I didn’t direct them,” Kern notes. “A lot of what they did came from body memory, and that’s how I work too. You do things instinctively from training and experience, and it was very easy for them and for me.”
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The only difficult part was the casting, which called for only six dancers. DBDT’s premier company has 13 dancers and its second troupe, DBDT: Encore!, features nine. “I took pictures of their faces, hands, feet, and torsos, and it was so hard to choose,” Kern recalls. In fact, each DBDT member is considered a principal dancer.
“There is no hierarchy within our company, unlike many ballet companies,” Young writes. “Each dancer is unique and special with the ability to be a soloist. They are all open-minded, honest and intelligent human beings wrapped in passion and care as they strive to uncover more layers of their artistry.”
Auditions for Dallas Black, as insiders call it, are extremely competitive. Members in both companies hail from various states and nations, and only two grew up in Dallas.
“To me, they are giants,” Kern says. “They are larger than life.”
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The lead company’s talent will be on full display at Spring Celebration, which runs May 17-19 at the Wyly Theatre. A calendar standout, the program has an impressive lineup featuring two world premieres by acclaimed New York choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie and DBDT veteran Claude Alexander III, plus visiting artists Ballet Hispánico, a contemporary Latino company from New York, and aerial dancer and choreographer Jamal Story.
“This Spring Celebration series will move your soul,” Young predicts.
Get tickets from $22 at DBDT.com.
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Another fun way to support this group is the inaugural Big Dance fundraiser on June 1 at the Wyly. Themed “Harlem Renaissance in the Roaring Twenties,” the dinner party will present Big Swing & the Ballroom Blasters from Atlanta plus four more bands and vignette dance shows, swing dance lessons and more. Tickets start at $200 at dallasbigdance.com.
Ann Williams founded the organization in 1973 as a dance school for South Dallas. The academy began performing locally in 1976 and launched a professional company in 1988, which makes it the city’s longest-lived dance company. Now headquartered in the Arts District, DBDT teaches ballet, jazz, tap, modern, hip hop, and African dance to a diverse group of 550 children and adults.
Experience the Style in Motion series in person at a special exhibition now on view on Level One between Burberry and Louis Vuitton. To see more from NorthPark The Magazine, click here or pick up your copy at the shopping center.