HDAT students with Master Artist Lindsay Renee Benton
HDAT Students 2010
HDAT Students 2012
HDAT Symposium
HDAT Students during mock auditions
HDAT Students 2016

Hill Dance Academy Theatre's History

Hill Dance Academy Theatre (HDAT), Home of Ju.B.Lation Spirit Filled Feet, developed out of Ayisha Morgan-Lee’s passion to ensure that children, ages 3 to 18 years old, who want to dance, would be able to with HDAT. Upon completing her BFA degree in Dance at Howard University, in October 2005, while in her first year of graduate school, students and parents, that she had previously taught, asked her to start classes again so that they could dance. How? and where? were the key questions. Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church, in the Hill District, opened its doors, to her request to hold dance classes for twenty children ages, 3 to 6.  In 2007, armed with her Masters in Arts Management (MAM) degree, and with the support of Pittsburgh City Parks and Recreation, HDAT had a new home with mirrors and barrés in West Penn Recreation Center. In 2007, HDAT established, Ju.B.Lation: Spirit Filled Feet, a Liturgical, pre-professional dance company that uses dance as the artistic voice to celebrate the Cultural, Spiritual and Sacred traditions of the Black Church experience. Beginning in 2008, HDAT created an eight-week summer intensive and coupled with enrollment growth, classes expanded from all day Saturday to include three evenings a week for advanced students. In April 2010, HDAT became a 501c3 nonprofit organization and moved into its current location at St. Benedict the Moor Center.
Throughout its growth, the mission to develop and train dancers in Black Dance Traditions, expand Black Dance knowledge and contributions, and create emerging artists who will sustain Black Dance Traditions in the Black Community and beyond has remained the central core focus that drives the curriculum, programs, performances, professional development of teaching artists and student development.  HDAT’s culturally responsive arts ecology and its holistic approach to the arts has engaged, served and provided opportunities to students who aspire careers on the concert stage.
HDAT students receive training from teaching artists who are professional experts in diverse genres of dance, and professions that support dance. Master guest dance artists from companies throughout the nation annually set pieces on dancers.  HDAT dancers have exceptional performance opportunities throughout the Pittsburgh area such as the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, and the University of Pittsburgh where they present seasonal performances and their annual Spring Concert.
Since 2005, HDAT has grown as a leader in dance education, with teaching artists who have tenure of over eight years, annual engagement of 5,000 students in public, private and youth-serving organizations, 780 classes annually, and a sustained location for fourteen years, in the historic Hill District arts community, home of August Wilson and many great Black jazz and music artists.

Hill Dance Academy Theatre is a 501c3 Non-Profit organization located in the Historic Hill District, Pittsburgh, PA.


The Mission of Hill Dance Academy Theatre, to develop and train students 3 to 18-year-olds, in Black Dance Traditions, expand knowledge of Black Dance Traditions and, develop emerging Dance Artists to sustain Black Dance as an Art form in Black communities.

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HDAT engages students, who are dedicated to serious dance study in rigorous, disciplined training to meet the demands required for collegiate, conservatory, second company and careers in dance. Students seeking careers in dance study Ballet, diverse genres of dance, and participates in residencies and summer intensives.


Board of Directors

TaMara Howard

Vice President of Finances

ACTION-Housing, Inc.

Board Chair


Camille Mangham

Internal Audit


Board Treasurer


Rachel Stachelrodt

Office of Philanthropy and Engagement

University of Pittsburgh

Board Secretary

Courtney Williamson, Ph.D.


Jenea Laymon, MBA

Business Manager

Manchester Youth Development Center


Beatena Nance

Research Compliance Assistant

Allegheny Health Network

Veronica Morgan-Lee, Ph.D.

Director of Fund Development

Hill Dance Academy Theatre

Margretta Stokes Tucker, Ph.D.
Secretariat for Parish Life

Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh

Ayisha A. Morgan-Lee, Ed.D.

Founder, CEO, and Artistic Director

Hill Dance Academy Theatre

Barbara Johnson

Vice President, Center for Race and Gender Equity

YWCA Greater Pittsburgh

Executive and Administrative Staff

Morgan-Lee, Ed.D.

Founder, CEO, and Artistic Director

Email: amorganlee@5678hdat.org

Phone: 412-586-7903


Executive Assistant and Rehearsal Director

Email: mcarmack@5678hdat.org

Phone: 412-586-7903

Morgan-Lee, Ph.D.

Director of Fund Development

Email: vmorganlee@5678hdat.org

Phone: 412-586-7903

Eric A.

Director of Marketing and Technology

Email: easmith@5678hdat.org

Phone: 412-586-7903

Teaching Artists