Dance Theatre Of Harlem Celebrates 50 Years

February 9, 2019

This Monday, February 11 marks the 50th Anniversary – to the day – when, in response to the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr….

and the lack of opportunities for people of color to train and perform classical ballet, former New York City Ballet dancer Arthur Mitchell – the first black dancer to be elevated to Principal – created, along with Karel Shook, the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Originally conceived and opened as a classical ballet school for the children in his Harlem neighborhood in 1969, Mr. Mitchell soon formed a performance company drawing from the students trained in the school. Led by his passion and determination, the DTH School and Company thrive today and we celebrate their vision and legacy for a classical ballet company for all.

To commemorate the February 11, 1969 founding of DTH, the organization has planned a series of events to honor its late founders, Arthur Mitchell, and Karel Shook, celebrating 50 years of transforming lives through access, opportunity and excellence, including:

February 10

  • Founders’ Day Sunday Matinee Community Celebration hosted by DTH Alumnus Vernon Ross, featuring performances by the DTH School, students from The Ailey School, National Black Theater and more, 3 pm*

February 11

  • FREE Beginner Ballet Class, 7:30pm-8:45pm*

February 12

  • “Classically Harlem” Lecture Demonstration featuring DTH Company and School at the World-Famous Apollo Theater-Invited Public and Private Schools Only
  • FREE Fitness Class for Adults, 7:30pm-8:45pm*

February 13

  • FREE Advanced Technique Ballet Master Class with former DTH principal Cassandra Phifer-Moore, 5pm-6: 30 pm*
  • FREE Conversation and Q&A with Former DTH principal Cassandra Phifer Moore, 6:30pm-7: 30 pm*
  • FREE Advanced Beginner/Intermediate Ballet Class for Adults, 7:30pm-8:45pm

February 14

  • FREE Thursdays@DTH open rehearsal of new ballet by Robert Garland Dessert reception follows with DTH Company artists*
  • FREE Fitness Class for Adults, 7:30pm-8:45pm*

February 15

  • FREE New York Public Library Performing Arts Event-Dance Theatre of Harlem Founders’ Week: Fifty Years of History // Film and discourse about the early years of Dance Theatre of Harlem with Dance Curator Emeritus Jan Schmidt and DTH Alumni

February 16

  • “Classically Harlem” Lecture Demonstration featuring DTH Company and Students at the World-Famous Apollo Theater. for tickets and info

* Events held at Dance Theatre of Harlem, 466 West 152nd Street, New York City.
The 50th Anniversary celebration continues throughout the year as Dance Theatre of Harlem (Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director; Anna Glass, Executive Director) pays tribute to the life and legacy of its late Co-Founding Director Arthur Mitchell with performances across the United States, including the annual NYC homecoming season at New York City Center (131 West 55th Street), kicking off with its Vision Gala, in Mr. Mitchell’s honor, on April 10.

Over the course of the next 19 months, audiences across the country can see DTH in Miami, Philadelphia, Seattle, Albuquerque, Washington, D.C., venues in North Carolina, South Carolina, and more. Performances will include premieres of commissioned works by Pam Tanowitz, Claudia Schreier with Composer Jessie Montgomery, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and DTH Resident Choreographer Robert Garland, and collaborations with Miami City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Peter London Global Dance Company, and Collage Dance Collective. For more information about the ongoing 50th Anniversary Tour, please visit

Via Broadway World

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