About Us


The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center prioritizes building the future of the arts by training, presenting and educating the next generation of artists and creative innovators. In light of the unprecedented world events, The Clarice’s commitments to the performing arts, the DMV community and the education of the UMD students are even more vital.

The BlackLight Summit has been developed to interact with this unique historical moment and those to come. The summit seeks to be a spark to ignite daring innovation and to reveal the creativity in the dance ecosystem.


The BlackLight Summit is a think & move-tank that re-envisions dance performance as a conduit to galvanize the social imaginations, resilience and inventiveness of citizens, thinkers, activists and artists. This multi-day gathering uses the medium of dance/choreography as a catalyst to:

  • Create a platform to amplify, inspire, and affirm the narratives and experiences of marginalized groups–specifically BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.

  • Aspiring to facilitate an equitable presentation series for emerging and early career artists of color–specifically Black artists.

  • Developing fertile educational experiences through immersive exposure and multifaceted access.

  • Facilitating courageous spaces that are  invested in fostering dialogues with/for audiences and community members of The Clarice.

Summit Pillars

Professional/Educational Development/Mentorship Innovative Performance
Rigorous Community Connectivity Aspiring to Equitable & Accessible Practices
Specialization instead of Expertise Adaptation and Perseverance
A Culture of Care, Compassion, & Courage Centering Joy & Discovery



  • Returning to one another with care, courage, compassion and grace
  • Shifting paradigms in hierarchies of presentation
  • Strengthen and innovate dance/arts education through the lenses of practice, equity and curiosity
  • Reimagining the definition of professionalism
  • Examining models of professional development
  • Building bridges between institutions, artists and theatre goers
  • Cultivating audience and community members who have been historically/contemporarily excluded