Ever since the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, Harlem has become a breeding ground for art and music. Dance Theatre of Harlem captures the vibrant energy of the New York City neighborhood in a new performance, Dancing Through Harlem. Created for Harlem Week and the African American Day Parade, the video showcases eight ballet dancers wearing masks as they gracefully move through city streets to one of Bach's violin concertos. It was produced by Alexandra Hutchinson and Derek Brockington and choreographed by Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Resident Choreographer Robert Garland.
Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook in 1969, during the height of the civil rights movement. Mitchell was the first Black principal dancer at New York City Ballet and he was spurred on the start his own company after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. He started teaching ballet in his native Harlem, where he created an empowering community for dancers of all backgrounds. Today, Dance Theatre of Harlem continues to celebrate diversity through the art of dance. The now 17-member, multi-ethnic company performs in celebration of African American culture.
Watch the entire Dancing Through Harlem video below, where you’ll see the talented dancers move through famous Harlem spots such as the 145th Street subway station, the City College of New York campus, and the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building.
You can learn even more about the Dance Theatre of Harlem on their website.