Dallas Black Dance Theatre Held Virtual Performance With Eye on Sustaining Arts in Pandemic

The Dallas Black Dance Theatre charged admission for access to a virtual performance.

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The Dallas Black Dance Theatre is looking to the future of performing arts in a pandemic. Over the weekend, it became one of the first professional dance companies to hold a virtual performance with paid admission to the online content.

"It's a little overwhelming to thing that we are one of first models providing performances at a cost," DBDT Artistic Director Melissa M. Young said. "COVID is teaching us that you have to change as the times require."

The dance company's home stage is at the Wyly Theatre in Dallas' Arts District, but that theater is dark due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is giving us a chance to just reset and really begin again," Young said.

While there have been online concerts streaming for donations, the DBDT opted to put a value on its work and the dancers, charging $10 to $20 for online admission to its 'Petit Performance' last Friday, a collection of three works performed in the Nasher Sculpture Garden and at the Dallas Black Dance Theatre studios.

"I'm a big believer that art needs art, and so we can't stand still. We have to keep moving because the artists need it," Young said. "But then we as just human beings need it."

Young said everyone has had to get creative, and think of new ways to do the same things.

"It doesn't matter if you are dancing out on the sidewalk, on the subway platform, in the grocery store, or on the largest stage in the world," Young said. "It's what you do because it's necessary."

The Dallas Black Dance Theatre is working on its fall shows.

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