Better Family Life, Inc. (BFL) builds strong families and vibrant communities by providing hope, comprehensive services, and meaningful opportunities. Each year, BFL serves more than 50,000 low-income children and adults, including the underemployed, unemployed and skill-deficient with a variety of programs - economic, housing, workforce development, educational, youth, social, cultural and artistic.

“Culture and art are luxuries for most BFL clients.  When we are trying to survive and put food on the table, we don’t necessarily understand that culture and art are literally, nourishment for the soul.  BFL’s Cultural, Educational and Business Center offers programs and activities to feed our souls,” said Deborah Ahmed, Better Family Life, Inc. Executive Director.

Among the programs of BFL’s Cultural, Educational and Business Center is Black Dance USA, which was inspired by Ahmed, when she attended Dance Black America held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music 37 years ago.

When she returned to St. Louis she said, “This historically monumental event has to be reproduced in St. Louis, MO.”

Now, 35 years later, Better Family Life has hired over 75 Black dance artists and presented more than 25 Black dance companies who have either been St. Louis area residents or call somewhere else in the country or the world - home. 

2020 would have been their 35th anniversary, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic their April festival was canceled. A year later, in a virtual environment, Black Dance USA will once again celebrate Afrikan and Afrikan Diaspora cultures through dance and music. They’re looking forward to the future when they can be sweating together in class, clapping for the drummers, hugging those whom they haven’t seen in a while, and celebrating the power and joy of Black art and culture. 

All professional dancers, choreographers, dance enthusiasts, dance students, musicians, educational institutions, arts and cultural institutions and anyone else who loves to move their body are welcome to attend. Participants will have the opportunity to join dancers from around the country for the region's longest running dance festival of its kind.

Classes and conversations are taking place April 7-14. A full schedule is available here. Learn more about Black Dance USA and register for classes at