Aronoff’s First African-American Dance Company Brings ‘Attitude and Boldness’ to Latest Show

CINCINNATI (WXIX) — A local dance company is making moves — and history — by becoming the first African-American dance company to perform a full season of shows celebrating the African-American community.

It’s a long-held vision for David Choate, the founding artistic director of Revolution Dance Theatre.

“We create havens where we share our creation,” Choate said, “share a reconciliation, known and unknown worlds. I love each other.”

This love is shared among the audience and they witness art and expression never seen before at the Aronoff Center.

“Lots of attitude and sass,” Choate said.

With a background in dance and theater production, Choate established Revolution Dance Theater five years ago after witnessing a lack of representation on major stages in the region.

“We’re saying something here called ‘intentional inclusion’, and I don’t think any company here had any intention of hiring black people, and when you’re not intentional about something, some things don’t don’t change.”

Revolution Dance aims to break down these barriers by bringing new voices into the spotlight. In December, the dance company performed “Hot Chocolate,” a soulful version of The Nutcracker. This week they’re debuting “Curves, Curls and Choreography,” a production that celebrates black bodies, hair, and art.

“It really shows where we find our voice,” Choate said. “You’re going to see ballet, you’re going to see contemporary ballet, you’re going to see modern dance.”

The goal, adds Choate, is that a diverse audience can see themselves represented on stage like never before.

“There’s never been an African-American dance company in residence at the Aronoff Center, so what that means is we’re not producing content for you,” he said. “When these kids come on stage, they don’t see each other. So our importance is to bring this representation to the deer so that little boys and girls and grown women can look up and see each other and say that these places – the Aronoff Center, the Music Hall – they are for you too .

“Curves, Curls and Choreography” takes place Friday and Saturday at the Aronoff Center at 8 p.m.

The company’s next show, “Soul Shaken and Stirred,” will debut in June.

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