Dance Theatre of Harlem Talking Points

April 21-22, 2015

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall


  • Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) was founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook and is dedicated to presenting classical and contemporary ballet works by African-American and other racially diverse artists.
  • Arthur Mitchell founded the company after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to provide opportunities to youth growing up in the Harlem neighborhood
  • In 1955 Arthur Mitchell was selected by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet
  • In addition to its prestigious and internationally-acclaimed company, DTH also is home to a high caliber dance education center.
  • Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook almost immediately founded a dance school in Harlem and in four months had over 800 students.
  • Their extraordinary repertoire includes works by seminal choreographers Alvin Ailey, Ulysses Dove, Thomas DeFrantz, George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, and many more.
  • At the helm of DTH is founding member and principal dancer Virginia Johnson. Johnson brings extensive experience as a dancer and choreographer for stage and television.
  • In 1981, DTH became the first primarily African-American dance company to perform at Covent Garden.
  • The first piece on the program, New Bach was choreographed by Robert Garland in 1999. Robert Garland was a principal dancer with DTH and now serves as the company’s first resident choreographer
  • The second piece on the program In the Mirror of Her Mind, was choreographed by former Alvin Ailey dancer Christopher Huggins in 2011.
  • Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven was inspired by a challenging period in Dove’s life after losing 13 close friends and relatives and is a memorial for them.
  • The final piece on the program, Vessels, was choreographed in 2014 by Darrel Grand Moultrie. Moultrie has most recently choreographed for Beyonce’s world tour, and also for Oregon Ballet Theatre’s IMPACT, which runs April 16-25.
Dance Theatre of Harlem Talking Points