Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook to utilize the art of ballet to embody the social vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and having garnered international acclaim for the company’s superior artistry, the Dance Theatre of Harlem is touring again after an absence of eight years.
Tickets start at $25 and may be purchased at the Kravis Center box office, 701 Okeechobee Blvd.; by phone at 561-832-7469; online at the Kravis Center website, kravis.org/dtoh; and at all Ticketmaster outlets.
Join the free pre-performance discussion by Steven Caras at 6:15 pm and a free musical presentation in the Dreyfoos Hall lobby at 6:45 pm.
Honored at the White House in 2006, the Dance Theatre of Harlem has performed around the world, including Covent Garden in London.
In 2004 the company was forced to suspend its performance company, retaining the professional training
program. Thanks to corporate and community support the group began its return to the world spotlight with its New York City premiere April 10 and is continuing with its current country-wide tour.
Company founder Mitchell, now 78, focused on dance education when he first started DTH in 1969 with the late Shook, one of the few white ballet masters in the 1950s and 1960s who encouraged black dancers.
Mitchell, who has been awarded a United States Medal of the Arts, was the first black male dancer in the New York City Ballet, which he joined in 1955. He quickly rose to principal dancer.
He left Ballanchine’s company in 1966 for Broadway and in 1968, the U.S. State Department asked him to form the National Ballet Company of Brazil to help build stronger relations with South America.
He was on his way to the airport when he heard that King had been assassinated. Deciding that his expertise could be used for the people of his own country, and for his own community, he opened the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Virginia Johnson, current artistic director became the theatre’s prima ballerina and stayed with DTH from the beginning, retired in 1997, and returned as artistic director at Mitchell’s request when Mitchell stepped down from the position in 2009.