The Dance Theatre of Harlem began in 1969 in a garage on 152nd Street. It came from a mixture of hope - roused by the civil rights era - and anger - provoked by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. the year before...
The Dance Theatre of Harlem began in 1969 in a garage on 152nd Street. It came from a mixture of hope - roused by the civil rights era - and anger - provoked by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. the year before.
One of the theater's founders, Arthur Mitchell, explained his motivations to form DTH in a 2009 speech: "I grew up in Harlem and lived during the riots during the '40s. I saw how this anger in young people growing up can really decimate a place. So I thought, 'What can you do to go back to the community where you were born and help change it?'"
Mitchell, who was New York City Ballet's first African American dancer, founded the troupe with Karel Shook, a white choreographer known for his nondiscriminatory teaching (pretty rare in the 1950s). Shook instructed future dance revolutionaries like Alvin Ailey.
Their mission: provide children of Harlem with artistic opportunity and teach the public about the art of dance.
Tuesday that mission takes center stage in New Albany as the McCoy Center and the King Arts Complex present the DTH school's performing ensemble.
The show will feature 15 young dancers and include one-act ballets, classical dance suites, contemporary numbers and Afro-Caribbean movement explorations.
A narrator, who will explain dance technique and terminology throughout the show, will make the performance at once educational and entertaining. Tickets are $25.