Muse Machine Artist Program

DCDC2 (Dayton Contemporary Dance Company 2) came and performed for CJ students as part of this year’s “Muse Machine In-School Artist” program in early February.

“Muse offers many community artist opportunities that are complementary to the performing arts programming we have at CJ,” Caitlin Bennet said. “The in-school artists were a huge draw and the student audiences have loved them. DCDC2 is our third artist of the school year. The previous two included The Black Box Improv Theatre and The Human Race Theatre Company.”

The company presented a repertory lecture/demonstration titled “In A Word: A Literary Landscape.” Contemporary dances were inspired by the internal conflict often found in great literary and musical works, including Shakespeare’s tragic drama, Romeo and Juliet,  Harper Lee’s classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, author Maya Angelous, Footloose, and The Wizard of Oz. The goal of the performance was to “inspire students to independently read these great masterpieces as they witness the visual transformation of the stories through contemporary dance.”

Kelly Muhl, current secretary to the president, attended the performance as a DCDC alum. From 1989-1992, Muhl was a member of DCDC as she added contemporary dance to her dance repertoire, which had previously centered on ballet. Muhl was excited to see the performance and is grateful for the time the dancers share with high school students.

“I’m glad DCDC2 comes to schools because it provides a chance for students to see the artistry and work that occurs behind the scenes of any performance,” Muhl said. “It allows those who may not necessarily often go to the theater have an up-close and personal experience with dance and the fine arts, without spending the money such an experience often requires.”

Midway through the performance, ten students were invited to join the dancers on stage to learn a piece inspired by “The Wizard of Oz.”

“The combination of dance, music, and literature was beautiful,” student participant David Marshall ‘15 said. “The dancers use their talent to show us how perfectly literature can be meshed with dance through music. I have seen DCDC perform before so I was excited to see them again, and they exceeded my expectations,” he said. 

Afterwards, a question-answer session allowed students to learn more about the dances, dancers, and pursuing art in college. One dancer encouraged the students to go to college, even if they plan on being a professional dancer or other artist.

“Going to college allowed me to learn more about dance, and also more about life,” she said. “It created a more well-rounded view of the art form I love, and in turn inspired an even greater passion to pursue it. Also, college teaches a structure and organization necessary to support a passion, no matter what art form it may be.”