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Dance Theatre of Harlem: Forty Years of Firsts


Saturday, September 17, 2016 to Sunday, October 30, 2016

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Photo credit: gantcenter.orgDance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts is an exhibition that highlights the many accomplishments of African Americans and other minorities who dared to overcome social norms and prejudices to pursue their passion and pave the way for future generations of world-class dancers. The exhibit is organized by Dance Theatre of Harlem, California African American Museum, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington D.C., Dance Theatre of Harlem.

The colorful history and powerful social and artistic impact of the renowned ballet company and school is brought to life in the exhibition’s more than 250 objects, including costumes, historical photographs, set pieces, and documentary video excerpts from four dramatically–staged ballets that are iconic to the company: A Streetcar Named Desire, Creole Giselle, Dougla and Firebird.

In addition to the costumes and staged ballets, exhibition highlights include numerous artifacts including original tour programs, letters from choreographers and dignitaries, magazine articles, design bibles, more than 20 original tour posters from the company’s New York City and worldwide touring seasons over the decades — including Dance Theatre of Harlem’s (DTH) first performance in New York City at the Guggenheim Museum and their first international tour — and an overview of Arthur Mitchell’s career and accomplishments. The exhibition also contains a large one–of–a–kind quilt with embroidered images of signature DTH ballets, and patrons can view a BBC documentary on Arthur Mitchell and Dance Theatre of Harlem.

In writing about the vibrancy and impressive talent of Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1969, The New York Times’ former chief dance critic, Clive Barnes, began his article with the following rhetorical question, “Black is beautiful, classic ballet is beautiful, so why are the two so rarely found together?”

Adults: $7

Students & Seniors: $5

Children under 5: Free

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