Founded in 2019 as a new programming initiative of Ngoma Center for Dance, Black Dance Festival: DMV brings a platform for African-American directors, choreographers, and dancers to perform, share, and celebrate their work and add to Washington, DC’s creative economy.

In 2017, there were conversations amongst the dance community in regards to the lack of Black dancer opportunities. This was a reason that prompted diversity training sessions during DC Dance Summit 2017, to begin addressing race within the community.

in 2019, Ngoma Center for Dance Founding Director Shawn Short wanted to take an active approach to address the lack of diversity, while still creating an opportunity for supporters of Black dance artists; expanding the public’s exposure to the work of African-American dance artists in the DC area.

“ Dance represents the smallest sector receiving public funding in Washington, DC. Additionally, professional DC Black dance companies (and activity) has greatly declined since their founding in 1932. Traditionally, D.C. is a city that eagerly awaits touring shows and concerts.

With Mayor Bowser, erecting D.C. as a cultural city, we need to do our part to preserve and celebrate the voices of Black directors, choreographers, and dance artists.”

Shawn Short, MFA
Ngoma Center for Dance
Dissonance Dance Theatre

Preienkert DDT aug 2301347-EditJessica1

Jessica Potts, Dissonance Dance Theatre

Ngoma Center for Dance, with Short at the helm, pushes to further its goal of being a host institution for African-American dance activity.

Black Dance Festival: DMV aspires to become a regional festival that brings many patrons, students, teachers, and artists together to partake in the vast artistic merit of established, and ascending Black dance artists.


Mission:  To provide annual dance programming, focused on developing and presenting Black-Managed and Black dance companies.


We envision a Washington, DC filled with professional Black dance artists visibly working (collaboratively or individually) to produce annual programming that contributes to D.C.’s creative economy; celebrating, presenting, and developing Black-Managed and Black dance companies (locally and beyond) for increased touring, co-producing, and educational business possibilities.

Felix Rucker Jr of DDT

Felix Rucker Jr., Dissonance Dance Theatre


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DC Black Dance 1930s and 40s.1
DC Black Dance 1950's
DC Black Dance 1960's
DC Black Dance 1970's
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DC Black Dance 1990's.1
DC Black Dance 2000
DC Black Dance 2010.now