If you are in search of the next avant-garde storytelling masterpiece that embodies the best of the dance world, look no further than Georgetown’s Black Movements Dance Theater (BMDT).
On Feb. 25 and 26, BMDT performed “Letters to Our World,” a dance performance that sought to tell stories that relate to the major events of the past few years, like the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice movements.
With thoughtfully choreographed dances, empowering backdrop images, simplistic and elegant costumes, moving music and showers of rose petals, “Letters to Our World” was a theatrical performance that spoke louder than any words ever could through its various elegant dances.
BMDT is a dance organization at Georgetown University that exists to creatively share Black stories and experiences with the greater student community. Founded over 35 years ago by women who had the passion and artistic vision to express the Black experience through dance to the Georgetown University community, BMDT performs an extensive variety of modern, Afro-jazz, ballet, hip-hop and spiritual dance works.
Under direction of Professor Alfreda Davis, the performance featured student dancers, esteemed guest choreographers and soloists. An adjunct lecturer in the department of performing arts and artistic director of BMDT, Davis said the goal of the group’s performances is to inspire and empower their audience.
“Our brand is about storytelling. We always want our audience to walk away feeling empowered,” Davis said in an interview with The Hoya.
Marianne Savane (COL ’25), a dancer in the show, said that the camaraderie among the group is palpable and they push each other to do their best on stage.
“I love the people, everyone is super talented and always pushing you to do your best. When you’re on stage, it’s like you’re dancing for each other more than anything else,” Savane said in an interview with The Hoya.
BMDT is a concert dance group, but their art is inspired by activism. The choreographers within BMDT pull ideas from various events and contexts to explore “soul defining thoughts reflecting dreams and desires,” according to their promotional material.
Furthermore, some of the dances focused on important social issues like the experiences of Black trans women in prison, while other pieces explored experiences like the feeling of persevering through difficult personal situations.
Last year, the inability to be in person because of COVID-19 restrictions greatly impacted the arts at Georgetown, specifically dance. Switching to an online platform was technologically difficult for the art form, and returning to campus with public safety restrictions due to the pandemic also altered traditional aspects of dance performances like masking for the dancers.
However, Davis was adamant that these hurdles would not stop BMDT from executing its mission.
“The craft should not end in the pandemic. Everyone has to find a way to keep moving forward,” Davis said.
In the end, it is evident that BMDT gives students a performing arts space to learn from their peers, share their own perspectives, and learn to truly appreciate the art of dance.