The 18-member, multi-ethnic company performs a forward-thinking repertoire that includes treasured classics, neoclassical works, and innovative contemporary works that use the language of ballet to celebrate African American culture. This program includes the Northrop Centennial Commission, Higher Ground, with choreography by Robert Garland and music by Stevie Wonder, and Balamouk choreographed by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa with music by Les Yeux Noirs. Passage, choreographed by Claudia Schreier with a commissioned score by Jessie Montgomery, offers a moving reflection on the fortitude of the human spirit, created in recognition of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to Virginia in 1619.

This event will be captioned, with other accessibility services available upon request.

Northrop is proud to partner with the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) to create inclusive spaces and access for all in our community. For this performance, Northrop has created a sensory-friendly environment in our Atrium Study Lounge (west side) staffed by a trained professional from AuSM for anyone in need.


“The work [Higher Ground], by the company’s resident choreographer, Robert Garland, was vital in that moment but feels prescient after the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests that took over cities this summer. The combination of Mr. Garland’s rich movement vocabulary, which mines and melds ballet with modern dance and street forms, and Mr. Wonder’s music was intoxicating — a promise for the future.” —Gia Kourlas, The New York Times

Dance Theatre of Harlem Performance Preview
Premiering Wed, Jan 26, 5:00 pm CT 
Available on-demand

See and hear from Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Artistic Director, Virginia Johnson, in conversation with Northrop's Director of Programming Kristen Brogdon to learn more about the Dance Theatre of Harlem performance, creative process, and the Northrop Centennial Commission, Higher Ground. 

Before the Performance:
Arrive early and enjoy music performed by a String Trio! U of M students, David Carillo, Omar Macias, and Niloofar Sohi will perform from 6:30 pm to 7:15 pm in the lobby on the west side.


Program Notes

Kari SchlonerGreetings! Welcome to this very special performance by Dance Theatre of Harlem, back at Northrop for the first time in almost seven years and making their seventh appearance on our stage. It feels like a blessing and a gift to be sitting here with you in person, a simple thing that has taken on new significance these last two years.

This performance is emblematic of the pandemic’s silver linings. Dance Theatre of Harlem was scheduled to perform at Northrop early in the ’20-’21 “season that never was.” The arrival of COVID-19 in March of that year forced us all to reimagine our relationship to live performances and large gatherings and to reconstruct the ways that audiences and artists connected. While many of our performances moved to various online formats, others, such as Dance Theatre of Harlem, faced cancellation or indefinite postponement. Instead, we made lemonade and the Northrop Centennial Commissions program was born. This program provided eight companies, whose performances were either cancelled or postponed, with residencies and financial support to create new work, while simultaneously offering our communities opportunities to engage with the artists throughout the process. This transformational program will continue to support at least one company each year, acting as a runway to Northrop’s centennial anniversary in 2029 and leaving a legacy of new work to be appreciated for generations to come. Northrop is very proud to be a co-commissioner of Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Higher Ground, and I hope you take a few minutes to watch this beautiful video about its creation.

I also want to give a special thanks to our subscribers, donors, and sponsor, PNC Bank. You helped to make tonight's performance possible. When performances were cancelled due to the arrival of the pandemic in March 2020, 239 of you donated the value of your tickets to Northrop, and PNC Bank pivoted right along with us and moved their sponsorship forward. These ticket donations and sponsorship were the seeds that became the Northrop Commissioning Project Fund.  If you donated your ticket back to Northrop, thank you for dreaming big with us. I invite you to learn more about the Northrop Centennial Commissions program, our current projects, and how you can support the ongoing creation of new work. Thank you, and enjoy tonight’s performance.


Kari Schloner
Director of Northrop

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Arthur Mitchell
Karel Shook

Virginia Johnson

Anna Glass

Marie Chong

Melinda Bloom

Lindsey Donnell   Yinet Fernandez   Alexandra Hutchinson   Daphne Lee   Kamala Saara 
Crystal Serrano   Ingrid Silva   Amanda Smith   Delaney Washington   Stephanie Rae Williams
Derek Brockington  Micah Bullard  Kouadio Davis   Keenan English   Christopher McDaniel
Sanford Placide   Anthony Santos   Dylan Santos   David Wright

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DTH Company is proud to be supported by: Anonymous, Alphadyne Foundation, Bank of America, Bloomberg LP, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Booth Ferris Foundation, Con Edison, Cornell Family Foundation, Dance/NYC, Davis/Dauray Family Fund, The Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation, Dora Donner Ide Core Trust, Downtown Music Holdings, Elephant Rock Foundation, Ford Foundation, Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, The Hearst Foundation, The DuBose & Dorothy Heyward Memorial Fund, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Jockey Hollow Foundation, The Klein Family Foundation, MAC Cosmetics, John L. McHugh Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Margaret T. Morris Foundation, Henry and Lucy Moses Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with support of the Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council, Paulson Family Foundation, Tatiana Piankova Foundation, Charles H. Revson Foundation, Jerome Robbins Foundation, Shutterfly, The Shubert Foundation, The Thompson Family Foundation, Venable, Yumiko.


The fifty-three-year history of Dance Theatre of Harlem is a landscape of peaks and valleys inhabited by a race of dreamers, achievers, and yes, history makers. DTH co-founder Arthur Mitchell was all the above as well as premiere dancer, choreographer, and teacher. We used to call him “our fearless leader” because he marched forward never thinking that what he sought to do would have been impossible for anyone else. His passing in 2018 left us bereft but determined that the institution he and Karel Shook incorporated on February 11, 1969, will endure and thrive.

Arthur Mitchell believed in the power of art to change lives and open minds. The DTH Company, School, and our arts education program, “Dancing Through Barriers,” became the manifestation of that idea. While the School and DTB served the Harlem community, with the Company, Arthur Mitchell was able to take his vision across the globe. The DTH Company, a mix of African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Caucasians, was a vivid demonstration of the premise that the art form of classical ballet belongs to us all.

The social impact of Dance Theatre of Harlem’s national and international touring for more than 50 years is often noted, but as significant is the depth and breadth of the company’s artistic prowess. With a repertoire that ranges from Mitchell’s own neoclassical works (he learned his craft at George Balanchine’s knee, after all), historic Ballet Russes, classics such as Scheherazade and Les Noces, to great American narrative works such as Billy The Kid, Fall River Legend, and the groundbreaking productions of Creole Giselle and Firebird that linger in the collective consciousness, throughout its history Dance Theatre of Harlem has expanded the notion of what ballet can be.

Virginia Johnson
Artistic Director


(Premiere January 22, 2022, Detroit Opera House)

Choreography: Robert Garland
Costume Design: Pamela Allen-Cummings
Lighting Design: Roma Flowers
Music: Look Around by Stevie Wonder and Syreeta Wright ©1970
Heaven Is Ten Zillion Light Years Away and You Haven’t Done Nothin’ by Stevie Wonder ©1974
Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder ©1973
Saturn by Michael Sembello and Stevie Wonder ©1975
Village Ghetto Land by Gary Byrd and Stevie Wonder ©1976
© Jobete Music Co Inc and Black Bull Music
All rights administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, LLC, 
424 Church Street, Suite 1200, Nashville, TN 37219
All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Amanda Smith    Daphne Lee    Alexandra Hutchinson   
Anthony Santos    Micah Bullard    Kouadio Davis

Higher Ground by Robert Garland was co-commissioned by Northrop at the University of Minnesota



(World Premiere May 3, 2019)

Choreography: Claudia Schreier
Music: Jessie Montgomery
Costume Design: Martha Chamberlain
Lighting Design: Nicole Pearce


Dylan Santos      Derek Brockington      Lindsey Donnell    Ingrid Silva   
Crystal Serrano      Kamala Saara      Alexandra Hutchinson      Yinet Fernandez
Christopher Charles McDaniel      Kouadio Davis      Keenan English      David Wright


Passage was commissioned by the Virginia Arts Festival in partnership with American Evolution for the 50th Anniversary of Dance Theatre of Harlem and the 2019 Commemoration, recognizing the 400th anniversary of a series of pivotal events in America's history — including the first documented arrival of enslaved Africans. The ballet reflects, in abstract, the fortitude of the human spirit and an enduring will to prevail.

Support for Passage was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional commissioning funds provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation through Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Women Who Move Us initiative, O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation and the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, the City of Norfolk, Virginia, the Friedrich Ludwig Diehn Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

The Virginia Arts Festival production residency for Passage was funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.



(World Premiere October 5, 2018)

Choreography: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
Music: Les Yeux Noirs, Lisa Gerrard, René Aubry
Costume Design: Mark Zappone
Lighting Design: Les Dickert


Ingrid Silva   Crystal Serrano   Yinet Fernandez   Daphne Lee   Lindsey Donnell  
Dylan Santos   Keenan English    Derek Brockington   Christopher Charles McDaniel    David Wright

Commissioned by New York City Center for the Fall For Dance Festival, the development of Balamouk was supported through 50th anniversary commissioning support provided by the Seattle Theater Group and by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation through Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Women Who Move Us initiative and expanded through additional support from Jacob’s Pillow. Support for new dance works at City Center is provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Derek Brockington


Born: Chicago, IL and raised in Holland, MI. Training: Grand Rapids Ballet School, Interlochen Arts Academy, Ballet West, and Pennsylvania Ballet Summer Intensives. Professional Experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (fourth season), Cincinnati Ballet, and Grand Rapids Ballet. Repertoire includes works by Claudia Schreier, Robert Garland, Stanton Welch, George Balanchine, Anabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Darrell Grand Moultrie. Along with DTH’s Alexandra Hutchinson, he coordinates DTH Social Media.



Born: Houston, TX. Training: The Dance Center of Baytown, University of Oklahoma School of Dance (BFA 2019), Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Ballet Program, Dance Theatre of Harlem Summer Intensive, and Texas Ballet Theater Summer Intensive. Professional Experience: Oklahoma City Ballet, Hartel Dance Group, and Dance Theatre of Harlem (first season). Repertoire includes original works by Amy Hall Garner, Trey McIntyre, Colin Connor, as well as Alejandro Cerrudo’s Lickety Split, Merce Cunningham’s How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run and Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake.

Kouadio Davis


Born: Oneonta, NY. Training: Holbrook-Wade School of Dance, Fokine Ballet, New York State Summer School of the Arts with Daniel Ulbricht, NYCB, Carolyn Adams, Alvin Ailey, Nutmeg Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, Alonzo King LINES, French Academie of Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Springboard Danse Montreal. 2019 Graduate of Ellison Ballet. Awards: Youth America Grand Prix in 2017 and 2018, where he and his partner won second and then first place in the contemporary Pas de Deux category. Professional Experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (third season).



Born: Midland, TX. Training: A Petite Dance Studio, Midland Festival Ballet under Susan Clark. Education: cum laude graduate of Butler University, degree in Dance Arts Administration and Journalism. Professional Experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (tenth season), Nashville Ballet (trainee). Repertoire includes works by Robert Garland, Nacho Duato, Ulysses Dove, George Balanchine, Donald Byrd, Elena Kunikova, and Dianne McIntyre.



Born: Randallstown, MD. Training: Baltimore School for the Arts, Boston Ballet, and School of American Ballet. Professional Experience: Boston Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Carolina Ballet, and Dance Theatre of Harlem (second season). Repertoire includes ballets by Nacho Duato, George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Ulysses Dove, Helen Pickett, Robert Garland, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Val Caniparoli, Alvin Ailey, Septime Webre, Nicolo Fonte, Francesca Harper, and Lynn Taylor Corbett.



Born: Mariano’ La Habana, Cuba. Training: Provincial School of the Arts, National School of Ballet, Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Professional experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (fifth season), Connecticut Ballet, Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Repertoire includes Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppélia, La Fille mal gardée, Don Quixote, and works by George Balanchine, Robert Garland, Christopher Wheeldon, Darrell Grand Moultrie and Dianne McIntyre.



Born: Wilmington, DE. Training: The Washington School of Ballet, Wilmington Academy of Dance, and summer intensives with Alvin Ailey, Alonzo King, Carolina Ballet, Ballet Chicago, and Nashville Ballet 2. Education: Bachelor of Science in Ballet, Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music. Professional Experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (fourth season), Nashville Ballet. Repertoire includes Orange by Stanton Welch; Return and New Bach by Robert Garland; Balamouk by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa; Harlem on My Mind and Vessels by Darrell Grand Moultrie; George Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie, Western Symphony, Swan Lake, Concerto Barocco, Divertimento No. 15, Emeralds, Rubies, and Giselle; Paul Vasterling’s Sleeping Beauty; Septime Webre's and Michael Vernon's The Nutcracker. Alexandra is the recipient of The Pierians Foundation Incorporated 2018 Emerging Young Artist Award, Virginia Johnson Scholar, Washington School of Ballet Professional Training Program tuition stipend, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Along with DTH’s Derek Brockington, she shares the position of DTH Social Media coordinator.



Born: Rahway, NJ. Training: Rahway Dance Theatre by her late mother Jay Skeete-Lee, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem School.  Education: BFA in Dance, Ailey/Fordham University, and MFA from Hollins University. Professional Experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (third season), Collage Dance Collective, Oakland Ballet, Alvin Ailey II, and Black Iris Project. Repertoire includes works by Jessica Lang, Benoit Swan-Pouffer, Nicolo Fonte, Dwight Rhoden, Jennifer Archibald, George Balanchine, Amy Seiwart, Joyce Trisler, and Darrell Moultrie.



Born: East Harlem, NY. Training: Dance Theatre of Harlem School, LaGuardia School of Performing Arts, Ballet Academy East, Boston Ballet, and Jacob’s Pillow. Professional Experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (fifth season), Ballet San Antonio, and Los Angeles Ballet. Repertoire includes works by Robert Garland, Ulysses Dove, Darryl Grand Moultrie, Colleen Neary, Thordal Christensen, George Balanchine, Jiri Kylian, Gerald Arpino, Christopher Stowell, and Kitty McNamee. Christopher is an accomplished ballet teacher and DTH Social Media Manager.



Born: Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Training: Ballet Etudes of South Florida, Manhattan Youth Ballet, The French Académie of Ballet, Nadege Hottier, American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet Austin, Ballet Hispanico, LINES Ballet, and Miami City Ballet. Professional Experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (third season), Alberta Ballet in Canada, Ballet West, Charlotte Ballet (formerly NCDT), Ballet Etudes of South Florida, Voorhees Ballet Theatre, Ballet Des Amériques, Fjk dance, Collage Dance Collective, Black Iris Dance Project, Boca Ballet Theatre, Ballet Northwest, Traverse City Dance Project, and Accent Dance. Special Honors: In commemoration of Haitian Flag Day 2018, Placide partnered with the Consulate General of Haiti in New York to organize and produce UNI, an art collective where he premiered the riveting ballet MAGA. In 2019, Sanford produced Sans-Souci, the second staging in the UNI series and was honored by the Consulate General of Haiti in New York for his work in preserving Haitian culture. Repertoire includes works by George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, Glenn Tetley, Desmond Richardson, Robert Garland, Mark Diamond, Yukicchi Hattori, Wen Wei Wang, and Aszure.



Born: Los Angeles, CA. Training: Yuri Grigoriev School of Ballet, School of American Ballet. Professional Experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (first season). Kamala is a recipient of the Grow Annenberg Fellowship and was a full scholarship student at the School of American Ballet.



Born: New York, NY. Training: Rosie’s Theatre Kids, North Carolina School of the Arts, Jacobs Pillow, Alonzo King LINES, Joffrey Ballet. Professional experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (fifth season), Kaatsbaan, Zest Collective, La Spezia Jazz Festival, and Caitlin Trainor Dance. Repertoire includes Susan Jaffe's Polivestian, Doug Varone's Democracy, Christopher Wheldon's This Bitter Earth, Lucinda Child's Concerto, Ulysses Dove's Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, Robert Garland's Return, New Bach and Brahms Variation, Darrell Grand Moultrie's Vessels, Harlem on my Mind, Geoffrey Holder's Dougla, Paul Taylor's Esplanade, Merce Cunningham's Sounddance, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Balamouk, Stanton Welch's Orange, and Sasha Jane's Lascia la Spina.



Born:  São Paulo, Brazil. Training: Centro de Artes Pavilhão D under Ricardo Scheir and Harid Conservatory. Professional experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (eighth season), Houston Ballet trainee, Orlando Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Chicago, and Paris Opera Ballet. Repertoire includes works by George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, Robert Garland, Ulysses Dove, and Marius Petipa.



Born: Denver, CO. Training: Pacific Northwest Ballet, School of American Ballet, and Olympic Ballet Theatre. Professional experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (fifth season), Ballet San Antonio, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Sacramento Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet. Repertoire includes Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Peter Pan, Firebird, Donizetti Variations, Cinderella, The Four Temperaments, Allegro Brillante, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Serenade, Swan Lake, and works by Robert Garland, Christopher Wheeldon, and Darrell Grand Moultrie.



Born: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Training: Projeto Dançando Para Não Dançar, Escola de Dança Maria Olenewa, and Centro de Movimento Deborah Colker. Education: Universidade da Cidade. Professional experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (tenth season), Grupo Corpo (apprentice), Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, Dançando Para Não Dançar, Armitage Gone! Dance, and the Francesca Harper Project. Repertoire includes works by Arthur Mitchell, Donald Byrd, George Balanchine, Dianne McIntyre, John Alleyne, Darrel Grand Moultrie, Francesca Harper, Robert Garland, David Fernandez, Carol Armitage, Deborah Colker, Rodrigo Pederneiras, and Annabelle Lopez-Ocha. In 2017 Silva was the first African Brazilian to be on the cover of Pointe Magazine and appeared on the cover of Vogue Brazil Nov 2020. She is the Founder of EmpowHerNY & Co-Founder of Blacks in Ballet.



Born: Orange County, CA. Training: Charlotte Ballet, SUNY Purchase, Joffrey Ballet School, Anaheim Ballet, Pointe of Grace, and Ballet Pacifica. Professional Experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (fifth season), Charlotte Ballet, New York Theatre Ballet, and Black Iris Project. Repertoire includes works by George Balanchine, Mark Diamond, Sasha James, Dwight Rhoden, Alonzo King, Jiri Killian, Dianne McIntyre, and Helen Pickett.



Born: San Francisco Bay area. Training: Lise la Cour's LaCademy, The Ailey School/Fordham University, and Jacob's Pillow Summer Program 2021 under the direction of Helen Pickett and Milton Myers. Professional Experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (first season) and Palm Beach Dance Festival. Repertoire includes works by Dwight Rhoden, Helen Simoneau, Yusha Marie-Sorzano, Maurya Kerr, Pedro Ruiz, and Andre Zachery. Delaney is the recipient of the Alvin Ailey Artistic Scholarship.



Born: Salt Lake City, Utah. Training: Dallas Dance Academy with Lyndette Galen and Fiona Fairrie, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Springboard Danse Montreal, The Juilliard School, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, and Houston Ballet Academy. Professional experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (12th season), The Francesca Harper Project, ARC Dance Seattle, Complexions Contemporary Dance Company, Ballet Black, and Texas Ballet Theatre. Repertoire includes works by Pam Tanowitz, Nacho Duato, Jose Limon, Helen Pickett, Arthur Mitchell, Donald Byrd, George Balanchine, John Alleyne, Dianne McIntyre, Darrel Grand Moultrie, Francesca Harper, Liam Scarlett, Robert Garland, and David Fernandez. Stephanie is the recipient of The Dallas Dance Council’s 2017 Natalie Skelton Award, 2013 Dance Magazine On the Rise, 2006 National Foundation for the Arts Award, 2006 Youth America Grand Prix finalist, Oprah Winfrey Fellowship recipient at the Ailey School, 2004 Texas Commission on the Arts Young Master.



Born: Ft. Polk, Louisiana. Training: Infiniti Performing Arts Center, Indiana Ballet Conservatory, and Orlando Ballet School. Professional Experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem (first season) and Orlando Ballet. Repertoire: Jorden Morris’ Moulin Rouge, Val Caniparoli’s Lamberna, Orlando Ballet’s Nutcracker, and Carmina Burana. Wright was Finalist at Beijing International Ballet and Choreography Competition 2019.

Virginia Johnson

VIRGINIA JOHNSON (Artistic Director)

A founding member of Dance Theatre of Harlem, Virginia Johnson was one of its principal ballerinas over a career that spanned nearly 30 years. After retiring in 1997, Ms. Johnson went on to found Pointe Magazine and was editor-in chief for 10 years. 

A native of Washington, D.C., Ms. Johnson began her training with Therrell Smith. She studied with Mary Day at the Washington School of Ballet and graduated from the Academy of the Washington School of Ballet and went on to be a University Scholar in the School of the Arts at New York University before joining Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Virginia Johnson is universally recognized as one of the great ballerinas of her generation and is perhaps best known for her performances in the ballets Giselle, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Fall River Legend. She has received such honors as a Young Achiever Award from the National Council of Women, Outstanding Young Woman of America and the Dance Magazine Award, a Pen and Brush Achievement Award, the Washington Performing Arts Society’s 2008-2009 Pola Nirenska Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2009 Martha Hill Fund Mid-Career Award. 


Arthur Mitchell was known around the world for creating and sustaining the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the internationally acclaimed ballet company he co-founded with Karel Shook in 1969. Following a brilliant career as a principal artist with the New York City Ballet, Mr. Mitchell dedicated his life to changing perceptions and advancing the art form of ballet through the first permanently established African American and racially diverse ballet company. 

Born in New York City in 1934, Mr. Mitchell began his dance training at New York City's High School of the Performing Arts, where he won the coveted annual dance award and subsequently a full scholarship to the School of American Ballet. In 1955, he became the first male African American to become a permanent member of a major ballet company when he joined New York City Ballet. Mr. Mitchell rose quickly to the rank of Principal Dancer during his fifteen-year career with New York City Ballet and electrified audiences with his performances in a broad spectrum of roles. Upon learning of the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and with financial assistance from Mrs. Alva B. Gimbel, the Ford Foundation and his own savings, Mr. Mitchell founded Dance Theatre of Harlem with his mentor and ballet instructor Karel Shook.

 With an illustrious career that has spanned over fifty years, Mr. Mitchell is the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, a National Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the New York Living Landmark Award, the Handel Medallion, the NAACP Image Award, and more than a dozen honorary degrees.

Karel Shook (Co-Founder) played a key role as teacher and mentor to African American dance artists in New York in the 1950s. In addition to co-founding Dance Theatre of Harlem with Arthur Mitchell in 1969, he also was a ballet master, choreographer, and author. Born in 1920, Mr. Shook was a native of Renton, Washington. Encouraged to study ballet, at age 13 he was a protégé of Nellie Cornish and received a scholarship to the Cornish School of Allied Arts in Seattle. While his performance career was brief, he appeared on Broadway and danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and New York City Ballet. Mr. Shook’s brief performance career led to teaching and choreographing, mainly in Europe but also in New York. In the early 50s he opened Studio Arts, one of the few dance studios in the city where African Americans could study ballet. Among his students were Carmen de Lavallade, Pearl Primus, Geoffrey Holder, Louis Johnson, Alvin Ailey, and Arthur Mitchell, who first came to him at age 17. Mr. Shook left New York in 1959 to become the ballet master of the Dutch National Ballet, where he was when his former student, Arthur Mitchell, asked him to return to New York to help create the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Mr. Shook was an advocate of the universality of classical ballet. His book, Elements of Classical Ballet, explores the development of classical ballet in such countries across the globe as China, Turkey, Iran, Japan, Cuba, and Mexico. In 1980 he was awarded the United States Presidential Award for Excellence and Dedication in Education.

MARIE CHONG (Rehearsal Director) 

Marie Chong is founding director of ARC Dance Company in Seattle, WA where she commissioned new work and re-staged pieces by choreographers such as Edwaard Liang, Wen Wei Wang, and Alex Ketley. Her choreography has been presented at Seattle International Dance Festival, Men in Dance, Arts Umbrella, and ARC Dance Company. She was the Artistic Assistant/Director for Cirque du Soleil’s touring show KOOZA and integrated new artists into other shows at the company’s headquarters in Montreal. Chong has also worked with Disney Theatrical Group as a teaching artist. She is honored to join the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s artistic team.

ROBERT GARLAND (Resident Choreographer)

Robert Garland was a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company achieving the rank of principal dancer. After creating a work for the DTH School Ensemble, Arthur Mitchell invited Robert Garland to create a work for The Dance Theatre of Harlem Company and appointed him the organization’s first Resident Choreographer. He is Director of the DTH school.

In addition to choreographing several ballets for DTH, Mr. Garland has also created works for New York City Ballet, Britain's Royal Ballet, Oakland Ballet, and many others. His commercial work has included music videos, commercials, and short films, including the children’s television show Sesame Street, a Nike commercial featuring New York Yankee Derek Jeter, the NAACP Image Awards, a short film for designer Donna Karan, and the Charmin Cha-Cha for Proctor and Gamble.​ Mr. Garland holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Juilliard School in New York City.

ANNA GLASS  (Executive Director)

Anna Glass has been involved in the performing arts as both an artist and arts administrator for over twenty-five years. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, recently named an “American Cultural Treasure” by the Ford Foundation. Together with Artistic Director Virginia Johnson, Glass co-launched a collaborative initiative addressing racial inequity in ballet – The Equity Project. In May 2013, she began her own endeavor dedicated to preserving and documenting the legacies of prominent Black artists and cultural institutions, and reinterpreting those legacies onto multiple platforms, including live performance. She recently produced Carmen de Lavallade’s newest solo show Carmen de Lavallade: Life of a Legend for Jazz at Lincoln Center and prior to that As I Remember It – an intimate portrait of this legendary artist, which toured across the country.

Glass has also served as a consultant providing strategic planning and fundraising guidance to various non-profit arts organizations across the country and has served as an advisor for the DeVos Institute of Arts Management supporting New York City non-profits. She currently serves on the 2021-2022 TONY Nominating Committee, as well as the board of directors for the Association of Performing Arts Professionals and the International African American Museum in Charleston, SC. Glass received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and her JD from the University of Dayton School of Law. She is also a licensed attorney in the State of New York. Anna lives in Harlem with her husband and daughter.

Dance Theatre of Harlem, Inc.
Everett Center for the Performing Arts
466 West 152nd Street, New York, NY 10031-1814
(212) 690-2800, (212) 690-8736 fax


Board of Directors

Ackneil M. Muldrow III, Chairman
Leslie Wims Morris, Vice-Chairman
Zandra Perry Ogbomo, Treasurer
Martino R. Moore, Secretary
Nancy Pforzheimer Aronson
Kendrick F. Ashton Jr.
Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts III
Kevin M. Cofsky 
Richard E. Constable III
Isabel Kallman 
Erika Munro
Tangela Richter
Scott Simpson
Don M. Tellock, Esq 
China White


Dance Theatre of Harlem, National Advisory Board

Dr. Ruby Herd
Leontyne Price
Alex Radin
Morleen Rouse
Jackie Rush
Kerry E. Schaeffner
Edward I. Tishelman, Esq.
Ben Vereen 
Lena Horne *
Jessye Norman*
Judith Peabody 
Cicely Tyson*



Administrative Staff

Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director
Anna Glass, Executive Director
Jordan Oldham, Assistant to the Executive Directors
Ebonie C. Pittman, Sr. Director of Development
Sharon Duncan, Director of Individual Giving
David Levine, Director of Institutional Giving
Alexandria Reffie, Manager of Individual Giving
Jessica Frazier, Development Associate
Keyana K. Patterson, Marketing Manager
Billy Zavelson, General Press Representative
Alexandra Hutchinson & Dereck Brockington, Social Media Coordinators
Mark Rowan, Staff Accountant
Hero Doucas, Human Resources Manager
Kenneth Thomas, Building Operations Manager
Alberto Recinos, Marco Recinos, Maintenance


Company Staff

Rehearsal Director Marie Chong
Resident Choreographer Robert Garland
Interim General & Company Manager Melinda Bloom 
Production Stage Manager Alexandra Tenenbaum
Lighting Supervisor William E. Cotton
Wardrobe Supervisor Katy Freeman  
Booking Manager Derrick McBride
Physical Therapy & Wellness Alison Deleget & Joshua Honrado, Harkness Center for Dance Injuries


Dance Theatre of Harlem School & Community Programs 

Director Robert Garland
Associate Director Lower/Upper School Augustus van Heerden
Associate Director, Tendu Program Rachel Sekyi
Student Affairs Officer Karen Farnum-Williams
Accountant Nejeree Wallace

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To learn more about supporting Northrop please contact:
Cynthia Betz or 612-626-7554 

A special thank you to our patrons whose generous support makes Northrop's transformative arts experiences possible. Make your mark on Northrop's future by becoming a Friend today, learn more by visiting

We gratefully acknowledge the support from, Arts Midwest Touring Fund, Minnesota State Arts Board, Marbrook Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and New England Foundation for the Arts. 

We extend a special thank you to our event sponsors PNC Bank, RBC Wealth Management, and HGA.

director's circle


  • Curtis L Carlson Family Foundation
  • Robert Lunieski
  • Jennifer Marrone and David Short


  • Jerry Artz
  • Kurt and Susan Bjorklund, Dedicated to Silas and Victoria Ford
  • Ellie Crosby, The Longview and Crosswols Foundations
  • Richard Gregory
  • Gail and Stuart Hanson
  • Randy Hartten and Ron Lotz
  • Marbrook Foundation
  • Gary A. Reetz


  • Drs. Robert Bruininks and Susan Hagstrum
  • Susan DeNuccio
  • Nancy Gossell
  • Shawn Monaghan and Greg Plotnikoff
  • Thomas and Conchy Morgan, In Memory of Sylvia and Henry Frisch 
  • Sandra Morris
  • RBC Foundation-USA
  • RBC Wealth Management
  • Scarborough Fair Boutique
  • Donald Williams and Pamela Neuenfeldt

friend's circle


  • Anonymous
  • Frederick L. Betz
  • Mary Benson
  • Jeff Bieganek
  • Deb Cran and Bob Craven
  • Bruce and Judith Hadler
  • Karen Hanson and Dennis Senchuk
  • Minhchau and Lawrence Harms
  • Sally and Richard Leider
  • Glenn Lindsey
  • Bob and Susanna McMaster
  • Medtronic Foundation
  • Tim and Gayle Ober
  • Kathryn Sedo and Scott Beers


  • Margaret Albrecht
  • Jeanne Andre
  • Kathryn Cahill, In Honor of Ferne Rowland
  • R. and J. Cameron
  • Rob Carlson and Gregg Larson
  • John and Nancy Conlin
  • Will and Ginny Craig
  • Fran Davis
  • Stephen Davis and L Murray Thomas
  • Meghan DeBruycker Legacy Fund-Willmar Area Community Foundation
  • Bob and Nancy Erickson
  • Jo-Ida Hansen
  • Brian Lammers and Emily Knox
  • Barbara and Jeffrey Land
  • David and Leni Moore Family Foundation
  • Mark and Cecilia Morrow
  • Gwen and Mason Myers
  • Rebekah Nagler
  • Lance Olson
  • Derrill Pankow
  • Dale Schatzlein and Emily Maltz Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation
  • Richard Taylor
  • TCF Foundation
  • John Wald and Marianne Remedios
  • Mark and Carol Weitz


  • Anonymous
  • Elissa Adams and Michael Margulies
  • Janice Apple
  • Kate and Lynn Christianson
  • George Ehrenberg
  • Pat Gaarder
  • Denise and Corey Holtz
  • Barry and Karen Johnson
  • Jan and Lance Johnson
  • Jennifer and Mark Johnson
  • Candy Lord
  • Holly MacDonald
  • David Musolf
  • Elizabeth Parker
  • Ann Piotrowski
  • Patricia and Joseph Pulice
  • Judith Rohde
  • Gordon Rouse and Sylvia Beach
  • Catharine Ruther and David Vanney
  • Phyllis Saltzman
  • Kathleen Schou
  • Dr. Darlene Sholtis and Dr. Heino Beckmann
  • John and Kelly Wheaton
  • Mark Wright and Elizabeth Walton

friend's circle


  • Anonymous
  • Paul Aslanian
  • Thomas and Jill Barland
  • Sharon Bigot
  • Jeanne Blaskowski
  • David Braslau
  • Kristen Brogdon
  • Mark and Karena Casey
  • JaNan Cavanaugh
  • Russell Cowles
  • Virginia Dale
  • Sandra Dale
  • Timothy and Judith Dove
  • William Durfee and Devorah Goldstein
  • Marcia and Berkan Endres
  • Kathy Gremillion
  • Richard Gwynne
  • David and Julie Hartung
  • Joyce and Eugene Haselmann
  • Annemarie Herrlich
  • Patricia Herrmann
  • Christina Herzog
  • Gayle Hjellming
  • Richard Hruby and Kimberly Broderick
  • Kimberly Hutchens
  • Janet Johnson
  • Tovio Kallas and Beatrice Holton
  • Micki and Neil Kay
  • Warren and Patricia Kelly
  • Randy Kish
  • Christina Kraft and Nelson Capes
  • Alan and Peggy Lathrop
  • James and Sharon Lewis
  • Barbara Lind and Craig Poeschl
  • Kimberley MacLennan
  • Holly Manning
  • Candice and Gerald Matykowski
  • Kenneth and Judith Matysik
  • George and Orla McClure
  • Margaret Moutvic-Wasz
  • Michael and Lisa Nekich
  • Jenine Nordquist
  • Jennifer and William Neujahr
  • Donald Ofstedal
  • Field and Cynthia Olson
  • David Pace
  • David and Mary Parker
  • Jacob Rabinowitz
  • Holly Radis-McCluskey and Glen McCluskey
  • John Reay and Karen Hanson
  • Bridget and David Reddan
  • Debra Reischl
  • Julia Sand
  • Kari Schloner
  • Dan Sheehan
  • John Shreves
  • Jan and Alan Sickbert
  • Jon Thomas
  • Cindy Tong and Robert Denison
  • Ertugrul and Karen Owens Tuzcu
  • John Van Bogar
  • Cheryl Wall
  • Michael Weinbeck
  • Cathy Westrum and Annelynn Westrum
  • Monica Winker-Bergstrom
  • Millie Woodbury
  • Roger Worm

Up to $99

  • Atashi Acharya
  • Kent Akervik
  • Gerald and Georgianna Allan
  • Arthur and Charlet Allen
  • Jean Anderson
  • Marcia Anderson
  • Michael and Jessica Austin
  • Kevin and Shirley Arms
  • Peter Bartholome
  • Todd Barton
  • Austin Beatty
  • Michael Blomberg
  • Tierra Boose
  • Jason Borah
  • Mary Boyer
  • Patti Brase
  • Kathryn Bredemus
  • Philip Briggs
  • Clifford Brody
  • Nancy Brown
  • Justin Burke
  • Thomas Cabaniss
  • Patricia Cagle
  • Mary Campbell
  • Philippe Catalan
  • Fay Chang
  • Karen Charles
  • Mary Ann and Stephen Chicoine
  • David and Nancy Claussen
  • Deborah Clendenning
  • Beverly Connolly
  • Jeanne and David Cornish
  • Scott Cragle
  • Charlotte Curry
  • Neal Cuthbert and Louise Robinson
  • Cynthia Daggett
  • Emily Dail
  • Andre Delattre
  • Soleil Des Lauriers
  • Cindy Devoy
  • Vicki Donatell
  • Byron Douglass
  • Robert Dufault and Ann Wilcox
  • Nancy Duffy
  • Lee Dunn
  • Jill and Ralph Dupslaff
  • Jean Durades
  • Alisa Eland
  • Kristin Elizondo
  • Susan Elsner
  • Barbara and Gerald Erickson
  • Tamara Eristavi
  • Valerie Fazedin
  • Elizabeth Fleck
  • Debra and Phillip Ford
  • Judith Franklin
  • Kirk Froggart
  • Candance Gossen
  • Michael Green and Jane Powers
  • Jane Greenberg
  • Amanda Grimm and Steven Pope
  • Julie Hagemann
  • Nils and Heather Halker
  • Urbae Hall
  • Amy Handelsman
  • Jim Hartmann and Michelle Miles
  • Jean Haskell
  • Richard Haskin
  • Cari Hatcher
  • Deborah Hennrikus
  • Patrick and Kimberley Higgins
  • John Hofstede
  • Janet Horvath
  • Ramona Jacobs and Charles Christianson
  • Karin Jacobson and Adam Chapweske
  • Ann Jaede
  • Jay Jaffee and Wendy Friede
  • Bill Jones
  • Michael Kanner
  • Anna Kerben
  • Cassandra Kiehn
  • Milo Kim
  • Nancy Klausner
  • Amy Kosari
  • Connie Kuhn
  • Arnold Kvam
  • Roberta Lamps
  • Carol Larson
  • Linda Leamer
  • Kathryn LeFevere
  • Jane Leonard and Lori Lippert
  • Elizabeth Ler
  • Debra Lex
  • Michelle and Kevin Lian-Anderson
  • Kathryn Lien
  • Kristine Loh
  • Ann Loushine-Thomsen
  • Marcelienne and Roger Lundquist
  • Dianne and Don MacLennan


Up to $99 (continued)

  • Kyle Maltz
  • Kathryn Manger
  • Judy Marcouiller
  • Nancy Marcy
  • Cynthia Marsh and C.W. Vandersluis
  • Susan McNamara
  • Margaret Michaelson
  • Sanjay Mishra
  • Jill Mitchell
  • M Valeriana Moeller
  • Eric Molho
  • Karen Moon
  • Daniel Moore
  • James Moore
  • Ayaka Moriyama
  • Summer Morrison
  • Ann Mosey
  • Chuck Munro
  • Bridget Murphy
  • Amy Nelson Sander
  • Lloyd Nestrud
  • Shelley and James Nichols
  • Libby Nickel
  • Linda and Larry Nielsen
  • Nina Norum
  • James and Sarah Novotny
  • Kristine Olson
  • Sandra Olson
  • Lynn O’Neal
  • Barbara Owens
  • Nicolas Paredes Sepulveda
  • Ann and Bill Parker
  • Judith Parr
  • Helen Paul
  • Mike Payer
  • Matthew Peak
  • Marjorie Pearson
  • Christina Peterson
  • Edward Peterson
  • Greg and Rebecca Phelan
  • Charisse Pickron
  • Holly Pike and Joseph Klein
  • Cathy Poff
  • Claudia Poser and Ronald Ofstead
  • James Potter
  • Nancy Price
  • Rebecca Quaid
  • Mark Rekow and Lynn Mader
  • Melanie Richards
  • Mary Roberts and Edward Kraft
  • Piper Ritter
  • Susan Roberts
  • Robyne Robinson
  • Yvonne Rode
  • Susan Rohde
  • Susan Rose
  • Irina Rukina
  • Makie Sanchez
  • Edward Sarnoski
  • Rebecca Scherpelz
  • Robin Schow
  • Cynthia Sharon
  • Elizabeth Sharpe 
  • Michele and Chris Shepherd
  • Rebecca and John Shockley
  • Kevin Silverstein and Karen Tang
  • Carol Skinner
  • Emily Soltis
  • Patricia Stankovich
  • Kathleen Stanley
  • Nanette Stearns
  • Kate Stolpman
  • Vicki Strahan
  • George Swan
  • Toni Taylor
  • Marie-Luise and Anita Teigen
  • Ivette Tejeda
  • Connor Theisen
  • Kay Troan
  • Nancy Tykwinski
  • Brandon Ure
  • Alla Valdberg
  • Tatiana Valdberg
  • Ann Van de Winckel
  • Frank Van Tongeren
  • Bill Venne and Douglas Kline
  • Carolyn Wahl
  • Brian and Katherine Weitz
  • Andrew Welken
  • Helen and Paul Wells
  • Curtis West
  • Susan Wiste
  • Allie Wolf
  • Rachel Wolff
  • Winifred Wu and Robert Lund
  • Yuhsuan Yeh
  • Mary Zilge
  • Margaret Zoerhoff
  • Roberta Zohara


This season’s listing is current as of 1/21/22
Please contact Trisha Taylor at  if you have any corrections or questions.

The Heritage Society honors and celebrates donors who have made estate and other planned gifts for Northrop at the University of Minnesota. 

  • Nancy M Allen*
  • Jerry L Artz
  • John W Follows*
  • Stephen Gordon and Pat Gavan-Gordon
  • Peter S Lund
  • Darlene M Sholtis



Thank you to the generous donors who continue to support programming for Northrop’s beloved Aeolian-Skinner Organ. It is because of you that this magnificent instrument’s voice will be enjoyed by many for years to come.

organ supporters

  • Anonymous
  • Reade Adams
  • Katherine Anderson
  • Terry and Vicki Anderson
  • Pat Andrle
  • J. Michael Barone
  • Karen and Alan Beck
  • Mark Bergaas and Mark Ceilley
  • Carol Bessler
  • Fred and Cynthia Betz, In Honor of Esther Stocke
  • Dean Billmeyer
  • Joyce Brown
  • Drs. Robert Bruininks and Susan Hagstrum
  • Francis Carter
  • James Commander
  • Scott Cragle
  • William and Virginia Craig
  • Dee Ann and Kent Crossley
  • Thomas Dillon
  • Sheena Dufresne
  • Laura and Tim Edman
  • David Fiebiger
  • Peter Fiore
  • Catherine Fischer
  • Deborah Ford
  • Susan Foster
  • Salvatore Franco
  • Judith Franklin
  • Reid Froiland
  • Maiken Givot
  • Karen Grasmon
  • Marilyn Haight
  • Nils and Heather Halker
  • Thomas Hanna
  • Jeffrey Helgerson
  • Helen Hillstrom
  • Janet Hively
  • Anna Iltis
  • Charlie Johnson
  • Susan Keljik
  • Mark Kieffer
  • Joseph Kuznik
  • Arnold Kvam
  • Carol Leach
  • Kristin Lefferts
  • James Lehmann
  • Kathryn Lien
  • Ronald Low
  • Peter Lund
  • Stephanie McDonald
  • Alfred and Ann Moore
  • Daniel Moore
  • Darcia Narvaez
  • Paul Nasvik
  • Pamela Neuenfeldt and Don Williams
  • Don Notvik
  • Steve Oakley
  • Paul Olsen
  • Steve Panizza
  • Robert Paschke
  • Daniel Peterson
  • David and Margaret Peterson
  • Chia-Hsing Pi
  • Holly Radis-McCluskey and Glen McCluskey
  • Jane Rosemarin and Val Lardwehr
  • Bruce Schelske
  • Connie Schuelka
  • Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
  • John Sebolt
  • Nancy Shallcross
  • Rebecca and John Shockley
  • Foster Solem
  • Chris Solheid
  • Laurine Speltz and Denis Ryono
  • Richard Steege
  • Paul Stever
  • William Tajibnapis
  • Nicole Thomas
  • Curtis Trout
  • John Vilandre
  • Michael Volna
  • Nancy Wellington
  • David and Rachelle Willey

organ advisory board

  • J. Michael Barone
  • Cynthia Betz
  • Dean Billmeyer
  • Kristen Brogdon
  • Dr. Robert Bruininks
  • Dee Ann Crossley
  • Laura Edman
  • Cathie Fischer
  • Nils Halker
  • Cari Hatcher
  • David Jensen
  • Helen Jensen
  • Pamela Neuenfeldt
  • Kari Schloner

This season’s listing is current as of 1/21/22
Please contact Trisha Taylor at  if you have any corrections or questions.

Jeff Bieganek

Happy New Year!  I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate 2022 than by joining us for this incredible performance by the Dance Theatre of Harlem. We are so grateful for your support and commitment to the work that we do and the artists that we present.  

I hope you can join us for the rest of Northrop’s 2021-2022 season which includes newly commissioned works, co-presentations with our partners in the Twin Cities arts community, and multiple premieres of pieces never seen before in this region. I know you’ll enjoy this season and I invite you to bring family and friends to share these memorable experiences with you.

As we enjoy this season and look to the future, I invite you to support Northrop’s programs, helping to shine bright lights on our stage. Please consider supporting the important work that Northrop is doing now, and in the future, to inspire positive change in our world. The Northrop Advisory Board is growing along with new opportunities to engage. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at And if you see me in Northrop, please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself!  I would love to meet you.

Thank you for attending this performance and we look forward to seeing you at many more Northrop events in 2022!

Jeff Bieganek, Northrop Advisory Board Chair

The Northrop Advisory Board

The Northrop Advisory Board is committed to the growth and awareness of Northrop’s mission, vision, and the continued future of presenting world-class dance and music in our community. If you would like more information about the advisory board and its work, please contact Cynthia Betz, Director of Development, at 612-626-7554 or

board members

  • Cynthia Betz
  • Jeff Bieganek, Chair
  • Kristen Brogdon
  • Dr. Robert Bruininks
  • John Conlin
  • Deb Cran
  • Susan DeNuccio
  • Karen Hanson
  • Cari Hatcher
  • Jill Hauwiller
  • Bob McMaster
  • Katheryn Menaged
  • Cory Padesky
  • Holly Radis-McCluskey
  • Gary Reetz
  • Robyne Robinson
  • Kari Schloner
  • Donald Williams

This season’s listing is current as of 1/21/22
Please contact Trisha Taylor at  if you have any corrections or questions.



Learn More

The content below derives from the Northrop Across Campus Program that supports Northrop's mission towards intersections between performing arts and education for the benefit of all participants now and for generations to come.

Explore These Themes

Find ways to make thematic connections to these suggested courses.

African American Studies

American Studies/American Cultural Studies/American History

Early Childhood Education

Global Studies

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Social Justice/Civil Rights


Music: R&B, Popular, Soul, Gospel, Funk, and Jazz

Dance: Ballet, Contemporary, Multi-Genre

Start a conversation about the performance, or reflect on the performance, using these questions as inspiration.

In 2019, Dance Theatre of Harlem celebrated its 50th anniversary. The company was initially formed in 1969 following the Civil Rights Movement, specifically in response to the assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • How can or should art respond to social justice?
  • Can dance be an act of social justice or protest in itself? Why or why not?
  • How has dance and performance art changed with time in response to civil unrest - even in this past year?

Company co-founder Arthur Mitchell was the first Black male principal dancer to dance with the New York City Ballet. Other pioneering dancers include Raven Wilkinson, who made history in 1955 when she signed on to dance full-time with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, making her the first Black woman to dance with a premier dance company. Then, in 1990, Lauren Anderson became the first Black female principal dancer with Houston Ballet, and famously in 2015, Misty Copeland became the first Black female principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre. 

  • In what ways has Arthur Mitchell changed the way Black dancers are viewed in classical ballet and the overall professional dance community?
  • What impact have these barrier-breakers had on the classical dance world?

The Dance Theatre of Harlem continues to focus on community outreach, education, and engagement, specifically within its Harlem neighborhood in New York City.

  • What significance does building a legacy or community have on the meaning and maintaining cultural traditions?
  • In what ways can the cultural tradition of dance shape our identities? How might early interaction with dance一or any other type of cultural practice一shape identity at a young age?


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National Endowment for the Arts