Black Movements Dance Theatre (BMDT) was established in 1981 by a group of black women who realized the need to bring a larger voice of black history to Georgetown University. The founders created a company dedicated to honoring, celebrating and sharing the truth of the African American experience. Three decades later, BMDT has held steadfast to the vision of its founders and continues to be a force to be reckoned with.
As a contemporary dance theater, BMDT has evolved into a diverse company that offers dance, arts administration and leadership training. BMDT has hosted top dance artists, such as Alvin Ailey’s Barbara Pouncie, Assane Konte and dance educator Dr. Sherrill Berryman Johnson. The program is offered through the department of performing arts through a formal audition process. Dancers must be committed to dance training, performance, production and the overall mission of the company.
The core members are hard working, talented artists in their own right. The company produces two main concerts a year. It’s the collective effort of the company that makes the production successful.
“It’s a lot of hard, meaningful work. Everything I do for the company is worth it because the end product is so successful that it drives me to continue to advocate for BMDT … I appreciate paying homage to the love, power and strength that is the black experience.” BMDT’s Student Director Jasmine Morton (COL ’12) says. BMDT members, Amenze Airhiavbere, Daphne Panayotatos and John F. Lewis Jr. say that they view this weekend’s concert as one of their last opportunities to perform on stage with BMDT. Each is thankful to the BMDT relationships forged and the challenges presented that allowed them to grow as individuals. They said that they intend to support BMDT in its future endeavors.
Members realize they dance to not only free themselves, but also to liberate others. With the upcoming Black History Month concert “Love, Peace and Politics,” the company will offer a rich program featuring the works of professional guest artists and BMDT members. The program includes inspiring works such as “The Definition” by guest artist Vincent Valle and “Shadows” by BMDT alumni director Lauren Cole. The latter work features a passionate pas de duex featuring Lewis and Jaclyn Markowitz (SFS ’14). The piece is an inspiring love story, which Markowitz and Lewis deliver with great passion and honesty.
“Love, Peace and Politics” will leave you breathless, moving with your body and dancing with your soul. The program will be performed Friday, Feb. 4 and Saturday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. in the Gonda Theatre. In the words of Artistic Director Alfreda Davis, “Dance is the life beat of my soul.” After this weekend’s performances, you too will feel the beat!
— Princess Fuller (SFS ’13)