Dance Theatre of Harlem
50th Anniversary Tour
Virginia Johnson, artistic director
For fifty years, Dance Theatre of Harlem has provided access to ballet for all. Comprised of an international touring company, a training school, and a celebrated arts education and community engagement program, Dance Theatre of Harlem demonstrates the power of art to transform lives.
The program is scheduled to include Valse Fantaisie (1953), choreographed by George Balanchine and danced to music by Mikhail Glinka; This Bitter Earth (2012), a pas de deux by Christopher Wheeldon, performed to a song composed by Max Richter and Clyde Otis and sung by Dinah Washington; Passage (2019), a ballet inspired by the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first African slaves in Virginia, choreographed by Claudia Schreier, and set to music by Catalyst Quartet violinist and composer Jessie Montgomery; and Return (1999), the signature work of the company’s longtime resident choreographer Robert Garland, which is performed to a suite of songs sung by James Brown and Aretha Franklin.
Compelled to make a positive impact following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the legendary dancer Arthur Mitchell started a school with his teacher, Karel Shook. Mitchell’s idea was to offer children in the Harlem neighborhood, in which he grew up, the opportunity to change their futures by challenging themselves against the rigors of a classical art form. In 1971, only two years after its founding, The New York Times called Dance Theatre of Harlem “one of ballet’s most exciting undertakings.”
Celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this season, the company has an extraordinary legacy based on thrilling performances and artistic excellence predicated on providing opportunity where none had existed. Through performance, training, and education, the impact of Dance Theatre of Harlem continues to be felt across the globe.
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Blake and Linda Gall
support provided by
Debra Lee Latta and Dr. Stanley E. Latta Endowment
Sandra Zaremba and Richard Brown provide support for engagement programming related to this performance.
This event is part of a season-long focus, The American Experience: Through an African-American Lens.