Dance Theatre of Harlem comes to Staller Center on Saturday, March 22, at 8 pm, bringing the vibrant art of classical ballet to the Main Stage. The company consists of 18 racially diverse dance artists who perform an eclectic and demanding repertoire at the highest level.
Among the exciting dance pieces on the program is “New Bach,” created for Dance Theatre of Harlem’s 30th anniversary as an homage to George Balanchine, the group’s dance “godfather.” “When Love” is for two dancers, with music by Philip Glass and choreography by Helen Pickett, expressing timeless love. “Dancing on the Porch of Heaven” brings six dancers to the stage. Choreographed originally for the Royal Swedish Ballet, it is set to the music of Arvo Pärt. Also on the program is the rousing “Return,” choreographed for 12 dancers. The piece blends classical ballet and the gritty drive of soul music, danced to the music of Aretha Franklin and James Brown. Tickets are $40 at stallercenter.com or by calling (631) 632-ARTS.
Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and the late Karel Shook. Mitchell, the first African-American dancer to become a principal dancer with a major U.S. ballet company (New York City Ballet), turned his despair at the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. into hope by establishing a school and later a company to bring new opportunities to the lives of young people. Virginia Johnson, artistic director, was its ballerina for 28 years, and says the theme of the company is “Believe again.” Dance Theatre of Harlem relaunched in 2012 after an eight-year hiatus. Support from many foundations, including the Ford Foundation, has helped make its revival possible. Sponsorship of the Dance Theatre of Harlem program at Staller Center is thanks to Times Beacon Record Newspapers.
For information on all Staller Center performances, visit www.stallercenter.com.