Dance Theatre of Harlem comes to Annenberg Center Live March 3-5

Dance-Theatre-of-Harlem
Credit: Matthew Murphy

The world renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem comes to Annenberg Center Live for four electrifying performances, March 3-5. The company brings unprecedented relevance to classical ballet and uses their art form as the ground floor for social change. This performance is part of Annenberg Center Live’s African Roots, American Voices series a multi-year journey that celebrates the African diaspora’s unique contributions to American culture.

This iconic company brings cutting-edge new works and beloved masterpieces performed by some of the most beautiful and exceptionally-trained dancers around. The performances begin with Vessels, a 2014 piece choreographed by Darrell Grand Moultrie, with its four movements, Light, Belief, Love and Abundance, focused on a cyclic journey infused with something beautiful that could be transferred to others. It is followed by 2013’s In The Mirror Of Her Mind, choreographed by Christopher Huggins, as a benefit for Dancers Responding to AIDS. It is set to selections from Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Górecki.

The performance continues with Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven: Odes to Love and Loss (World Premiere: 1993, DTH Premiere: October 4, 2013). By Ulysses Dove, the work was choreographed for the Royal Swedish Ballet in 1993 during a challenging period in Dove’s life. Having lost 13 close friends and relatives, among them his father, Dove explained, “I want to tell an experience in movement, a story without words, and create a poetic monument over people I loved.” Set to Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, Dove’s spare but demanding choreography invites dancer and viewer alike to live each moment as if it were the last.

The performance concludes with 1999’s Return, choreographed by Philadelphia native Robert Garland. Featuring the music of James Brown, Alfred Ellis, Aretha Franklin and Carolyn Franklin, Garland choreographed Return for Dance Theatre of Harlem’s 30th anniversary. Garland calls the ballet’s style
“post-modern urban neoclassicism – an attempt to fuse an urban physical sensibility and a neoclassical one.” The New York Times called the work “a witty fusion of ballet technique and street gait whose irony toward rhythm-and- blues had the audience in stitches.”

Dance-Theatre-of-Harlem(3)
Credit: Rachel Neville

Schedule of Performances
Thursday, March 3, 7:30 PM
Friday, March 4, 8 PM
Saturday, March 5, 2 PM
Saturday, March 5, 8 PM
Tickets cost $30-$75 and are available online at AnnenbergCenter.org or by phone at 215.898.3900.
The Annenberg Center is located at 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia


Credit: Rachel Neville

Dance Theatre of Harlem
Dance Theatre of Harlem is a leading dance institution of unparalleled global acclaim that uses the art form of classical ballet to change people’s lives. Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and the late Karel Shook. Mitchell, the first African-American 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 young people in the Harlem neighborhood where he grew up. He believed that training in a classical art form could instill discipline and focus in a challenged community. Dance Theatre of Harlem’s unprecedented success is built on the bold new forms of artistic expression that arose from the access he created. Through varied artistic interactions, Dance Theatre of Harlem has inspired countless people in New York City, across the country and around the world.

Forty-six years later, Dance Theatre of Harlem remains committed to the excellence that has sustained it. At the same time, it is dedicated to reaching new audiences with a powerful message of self-reliance, artistic relevance and individual responsibility, all hallmarks of an organization that has played a key role in the national cultural dialogue.

Dance Theatre of Harlem is part of African Roots, American Voices, Annenberg Center Live’s multi-year journey that celebrates the African diaspora’s unique contributions to American culture. Each year focuses on a different musical genre, exploring its roots and cultural impact. The 15/16 season focuses on jazz, a wholly-original American art form. Jazz is unpredictable, it’s bold, and it’s a conversation. As Louis Armstrong said, “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.”