DBDT: Encore! Artistic Director

Photo by Brian Guilliaux


Artistic Director, DBDT: Encore!

A Detroit native, Nycole Ray graduated from The California Institute of the Arts with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in dance. She received additional training at the California State Summer School of the Arts, Wayne State University, and as an exchange student at the London Contemporary Dance School in England. Mrs. Ray has performed with the Bruce Wood Dance Project, Walt Disney World Entertainment, Christopher and Friends directed by Christopher L. Huggins, the Lula Washington Dance Theater, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company II and the Zadonu African Dance Company. She has worked with noted choreographers such as Donald McKayle, Dianne McIntyre, Christopher L. Huggins, Alonzo King, Donald Byrd, Bruce Wood®, Rennie Harris and Camille A. Brown. In addition to her concert dance performances, and has appeared in music videos, industrials in the U.S. and Europe.

Nycole created Nineteenth in commemoration of the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, giving women equality and the right to vote through a grant provided by the 19th Amendment Centennial Fund in 2020, as well as works for the University of Dallas, Wayne State University, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, DBDT: Encore!, Milwaukee Dance Connection and Detroit Renaissance High School. Mrs. Ray was commissioned by The Dallas Opera to choreograph Samson and Delilah, and has had collaborations with the Dallas Museum of Art, creating Frida, Frida and Frida based off the Mexico exhibit in 2017, Art on 5th Avenue. based on the contemporary jewelry designs of Author Smith, The Subtle, The Sum…Give More Than You Take, based off of the Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take exhibit in 2013, The Line of Beauty that Runs Through, based off of the works from The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece exhibit along with works from their permanent collection in 2013, Le Afrique Masquerade for The Art of Disguise exhibit of African Masks in the fall of 2010 as well as a commissioned work for the Dallas Holocaust Museum in 2009. Nycole is the 2013 recipient of the Natalie Skelton Award for Artistic Excellence from the Dance Council of North Texas.

Mrs. Ray was a featured choreographer for the Ninth FINTDAZ Festival in Iquique, Chile in 2016 as well as the Tenth Annual Choreographers Choice Series in Dallas; and premiered work in Vienna’s 2003 International Black Dance Festival, and has shown work at Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Festival. She accompanied Dr. Chuck Davis, as an invited guest, during his annual pilgrimage to Africa, and has been a teaching Assistant and adjunct at Texas Woman’s University. Mrs. Ray received the 2011 Artful Dancewear Teachers Scholarship through The Dance Council of North Texas to continue her studies, and is a certified Dunham Technique Instructor.

Nycole Is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and is the Director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s Summer Intensive program and has served in the past as Rehearsal Director for the Bruce Wood Dance, Assistant Rehearsal Director for Dallas Black Dance Theatre and the Director of Bloom, Dallas Black Dance Academy’s Performing Ensemble. This is her 11th year as the Artistic Director of DBDT: Encore! and is a guest artist with DBDT. In 2021, Nycole has been named one of the “Women Who Make Dallas Great” by D Magazine. This, marks her 24th season with Dallas Black Dance Theatre.

Photo by Brian Guilliaux

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