The mission of Dallas Black Dance Theatre is to create and produce contemporary modern dance at its highest level of artistic excellence. DBDT fulfills this mission through performance and educational programs that bridge cultures, reach diverse communities and encompass ever-expanding national audiences.
The company's repertoire is broad from masterworks by Alvin Ailey and Twyla Tharp to an aerial ballet and silent disco experience. Dance styles include contemporary modern, ballet, jazz, and African. The organization consists of five performing ensembles-the main professional company, the second professional company DBDT: Encore!, and three elite student performing ensembles from the Academy.
The official training school of DBDT, Dallas Black Dance Academy offers more than 50 classes weekly from beginner to pre-professional levels for children and adults. Taught by dancers of both professional companies, classes are available in ballet and modern, among others. Academy alumni continue dance training at The Juilliard School and national universities. In 2017, Dallas Black Dance Theatre received the Texas Medal of Arts Award in arts education.
DBDT has partnered with arts organizations throughout Dallas, including Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Dallas Opera, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Theater Center, Nasher Sculpture Center, TITAS, Bruce Wood Dance, and Dark Circles Contemporary Dance.
At 10 years old, she joined DBDT's Academy Performing Ensemble and received her first glimpse at performing in a real company. During her five years as an ensemble member, she grew not only as a dancer but as a confident and self-disciplined young woman. She benefited from opportunities she would not otherwise have gained, including the chance to perform in Africa her sophomore year.
It was her early training in the Academy that allowed her to successfully audition and be accepted to Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. As her love for dance grew, she decided she wanted to pursue it as a career. Once the decision was made, McKinley used the training she received to secure scholarships and opportunities to help her reach her dream.
In 2010, McKinley received the Texas Commission on the Arts Young Masters scholarship for dance before making her debut with the Bruce Wood Dance Project and beginning her career as a dancer. Today, McKinley is now in her fourth season with Dallas Black Dance Theatre's main company, performing across the globe for audiences of all ages.
I am grateful my daughter had the opportunity to see the professional dancers at DBDT as inspiring role models. As I watch the young girls at DBDT performances, I am proud to know my daughter is now inspiring the next generation to realize their dreams.