Hill Dance Academy Theatre (HDAT) is a nonprofit arts education organization serving a population of children ages 3 to 18 who are 89% Black and Brown students and 11% bi-racial and or Black students adopted by white parents. Founded in October 2004, the mission is to provide professional level training in Black Dance traditions, history, culture, and aesthetics that engages and empowers students to pursue careers in Black dance.
HDAT’s Academy is served by faculty artists with Bachelors, Masters and Doctorates in dance, education, arts administration, theatre, visual arts, pharmacy, leadership, music, technology, creative discipline, and fitness. The holistic curriculum is steeped in culturally relevant educational practices; 21st century education practices link creativity, critical thinking skills, history, performance innovations, anatomy, and disciplines with classes in nutrition, leadership, and costuming. HDAT’s curriculum is focused on the understandings by students, faculty, staff, and parents that there is a philosophy of the Secret Sauce, Dance Starts Here, It’s Bigger than Dance and Black Excellence that engages and empowers a student dancer’s career trajectories.
As a Black arts organization, HDAT intentionally focuses the curriculum internally and externally on equity. The organization is in the historic Hill District and HDAT unapologetically recognizes its Blackness and that space and brave place matters and social justice, equity, and being a part of responding and contributing to the overall well-being of our home community, the Hill is of utmost importance. HDAT’s work is relevant to Remake Learning in the following ways:
- HDAT’s curriculum, teaching and learning styles engage student dancers in culturally relevant and 21st century educational practices
- Student dancers are engaged in career planning and learning outside of HDAT to provide depth and breadth to their career trajectories
- HDAT engages and links students and the artistry of Black dance with the Hill community and uses dance as an intentional equity tool to support and develop the Hill and showcase the historical contributions and humanity of Black artists and their artistry to Pittsburgh