BDA Champions Announced and Plans for a Dance-filled Week

2023 Dr. Michael Shannon Dance Champions Named!

This year for the first time, at the encouragement of a panel of prior BDA Dance Champions, BDA will be honoring three women who have built extraordinary legacies in our dance community — Deborah Mason, Ann Brown Allen and Dianne “Lady Di” Walker!


Fair skinned woman with curly dark hair, tortoise rimmed round glasses and a big smile, leans on her hand outdoors.

Born and raised in East Cambridge, Deborah Mason Dudley’s empowering story encompasses many roles– dancer, teacher, community leader, and activist. Deb founded her school in 1975 and now works from Deborah Mason Performing Arts Center in Somerville. In 2004, she founded Cambridge Youth Dance Program (CYDP) whose programs have included WHAT THE DICKENS! and “CYDP Presents” Deb produces the annual summer Boston Tap Party. Her autobiography Life Is But A Dance came out in 2022.


Black woman with rectangular glasses and hair pulled back, smiles directly at the camera.

Ann Brown Allen was a founding member of the Danny Sloan Dance Company in the late 1970’s, one of the only African-American women dancing professionally in Boston at that time. Ann has danced continually since that time with Dance Collective, Roxy Dancers, Dance Across the Ages and most recently with Peter DiMuro’s Public Displays of Motion. A longtime instructor at Boston University, she continues to teach both dance and fitness classes. Ann has served on the boards of Mass Movement, the Freelance Players and the board of advocates of Urban Improv.  She serves as secretary of the board of The Dance Complex.


Black woman with gold earrings and necklace, wearing a loose black and white shirt, tilts her head while smiling.

Boston raised and internationally recognized Dianne “Lady Di” Walker is considered the “griot” of tap dancing. She began her dance training  with Mildred Kennedy-Bradic and later studied with Jimmy Slyde, Jimmy “Sir Slyde” Mitchell, and Leon Collins whose studio in Brookline she directed 1982–1995 and whose repertory she has preserved and shared with new generations of dancers. Her dancing in festivals, on Broadway and in the film Tap have earned her global audiences.

BDA congratulates these wonderful artists and we look forward to celebrating their achievements at our spring gala!

Stay tuned for more details!
Neena Gulati smiles at the camera
Congratulations to Neena Gulati, who will be receiving the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award from INDIA New England News. Neena is the founder of the Brookline, MA-based Triveni School of Dance, which is celebrating its 51st anniversary this year, and was the first Indian classical dance school in New England. She was BDA Dr. Michael Shannon Dance Champion in 2016.
Orange poster of "Foundry Festival Everything's a Story" with drawing of a brown-skinned figure with a broad-brimmed hat sitting in front of a bright sun and green tree, with text about the event.
The Presidents’ Day weekend Foundry Family Festival in Cambridge with great art and STEM activities for school vacation week includes dance with Jean Appolon Expressions, ballet dance and fitness, a community movement party with The Click, Cuban Rueda, Boston Forge street styles and much more! Check the website for times through Saturday, February 25.
Intermediate/Advanced Ballet poster with event information written in light pink, light blue and light orange over a photo of a dancer's leg bevelled wearing pointe shoes.
Longtime Ballet Frankfurt performer Tony Rizzi offers an Intermediate/Advanced Ballet workshop which features elements of George Balanchine’s stylistic emphasis in speed and clarity while also incorporating qualities of William Forsythe’s approach to ballet  Thursday February 23 and Saturday February 25 at the Dance Complex.
Winter guest workshop poster with event information written in black over a winter scenery background
Dance New England Studios is offering a winter guest workshop featuring two incredible guest instructors: Jason Berube and Adrienne HawkinsThursday, February 23, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM (Hip Hop), 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM (Jazz). Open to all dancers 12 and over.
fair-skinned flamenco dancer in one-shouldered black dress with one arm raised, the other holding her skirt.
Join flamenco dancer and Harvard Mather House resident scholar María Aliaga for a free introductory workshop on flamenco Friday, February 24, 4-5:30pm at the Harvard Dance Center. María will teach the basics of the dance form– arms and footwork technique, rhythm, and a short choreography– while providing historical background and context.
Dancer in a loose t-shirt and shorts kneels on one knee and bends upper body to the side, placing one hand on the floor and the other on their head.
Join Urbanity on Saturday, February 25 from 12-3pm to celebrate Black History Month with dance workshops led by Urbanity Faculty at Urbanity  Central. All levels welcome!
12-1 PM: Hip Hop Party Dance Grooves and Freestyle with Purpose
1-2 PM: RnB Move and Flow with Ice
2-3 PM: Dancehall/Soca with Makeda
Traditional Balinese performer with golden crown piece and patterned collar piece.
Watch Arja Saraswati Puja, a contemporary Balinese performance telling the story of the Goddess Saraswati who descended from the heavens to bring knowledge and understanding to humankind. Saturday, February 25, 2 PM and 7:30 PM Boroughs Theatre, Prior Performing Arts Center, College of the Holy Cross.
Black and white image of the Wondertwins performing in suits and sunglasses.
The Wondertwins, Boston natives Billy and Bobby McLain, are bringing Love and Happiness to The Dance Complex. The evening will feature two works, “To Love with Hip-Hop” and “Love,” both of which focus on returning to a level of hip-hop aimed at bringing people together rather than separating them. Saturday, February 25, at 8 PM and Sunday, February 26, at 7 PM.
Event poster with image of a house and a moon with a femme-presenting person leaning on it.
JP Jitterbugs present Annie and the Fur Trappers at Spontaneous Celebrations! Join for a beginner lindy hop lesson (6-7 PM), beginner+ balboa lesson (6:00-7:30 PM) and Annie’s performance (7:30 PM). Sunday, February 26 at 45 Danforth Street (near Stony Brook T stop – Orange Line).
The armory, a white building, with pink flowers surrounding it.
As part of the ongoing Armory Master Plan process, the City and Somerville Arts Council seek 20 individuals to participate in a 75-minute online focus group discussion which will guide the Armory’s future as a vibrant arts center for years to come. Those interested in participating in the focus group should complete a brief preliminary questionnaire by Thursday, February 23. Selected participants will be contacted directly.
Two complexions dancers: one kneels on one knee and holds the other dancers arm and hand; the other dancer extends legs, one up and one down, while reaching one arm up and the other towards the first dancer.
Apply now to attend Complexions Contemporary Ballet summer intensive June 19 – 24, Monday – Saturday 10:00 AM-2:15 PM & 2:45-4:00 PM  at the Dance Complex in a program in partnership with OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center.

Celebrating good times with the medical team at UNC Children’s Hospital in North Carolina– a now-annual event that would delight the late Dr. Michael Shannon whose dance life complemented his work as a noted pediatrician and teacher.
Whether you are enjoying a long weekend, school vacation week get-aways, or simply relishing the increasing daylight, we hope you keep dance on your schedule!

If you’re planning spring and summer events and want to rent BDA’s wonderful portable dance floor, get your requests for a no-obligation quote in now, as we already have some blackout dates. We are so looking forward to performance indoors and outside!


Debra Cash, Executive Director