Riddick Dance Company portrays Black history through performances for Martinsville students

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 6:01 PM EDT
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Over 400 students at Martinsville Middle School got to watch a professional dance performance Tuesday morning thanks to Piedmont Arts.

Riddick Dance is a contemporary African American Dance Company based out of Hampton, Virginia.

“I feel like it’s my earthly assignment,” said David Riddick, Artistic Executive Director. “I started dancing really young in Germany. I feel like it’s fulfilled its purpose. The message needs to be spread, no matter how big, no matter how small the city or town or is.”

Their dances represented Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” speech, his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and other historic pieces.

“I think it’s important because it’s all about history, and then they can see themselves. It doesn’t matter if it’s past, present or future. They can see it within the pieces. They can see themselves,” added Riddick.

“The past predicts our present and our future,” explained Wanda Christian, Riddick Dance member. “If we can learn more about our past, we can understand more about where we are today.”

Wednesday, they will perform for Stanleytown Elementary School and Fielddale-Collinsville Middle School.

“Unfortunately, some of our students don’t get to go to ballets and symphonies and orchestras, but having this opportunity sponsored by Piedmont Arts was great,” said Ama Waller, Martinsville Middle School Principal. “On TikTok, a lot of times, unfortunately, we’re not always seeing these types of dances. So, to see professional dancers and trained dancers is a wonderful opportunity.”

They will also have a show that is open to the public at Piedmont Arts Thursday night at 7.