Dance Theatre of Harlem
Dance Theatre of Harlem is about using the art form of classical ballet to change people’s lives. Through performances by our internationally acclaimed Company, training in our world-class school, and participation in our multi-faceted arts education program, Dance Theatre of Harlem has made a difference in the world for 50 years.
Inspired to bring new opportunity to the lives of the young people in the Harlem neighborhood in which he grew up, Arthur Mitchell and the late Karel Shook founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem in the basement of a church in 1969. Mitchell, who had found success as a principal dancer with the renowned New York City Ballet, understood the power of training in a classical art form to bring discipline and focus to a challenged community. Dance Theatre of Harlem’s unprecedented success, as a racially diverse company, school and source of arts education was built on creating innovative and bold new forms of artistic expression. Through these varied artistic interactions, our ambassadors have helped to build character and have provided valuable life skills to countless people in New York City, across the country and around the world.
As Dance Theatre of Harlem traverses its fifth decade, we remain committed to the excellence that has sustained us over the years. At the same time, we dedicate ourselves to reaching new audiences with a message of self-reliance, self-expression and individual responsibility.
Now under the leadership of a second generation of artists inspired by Arthur Mitchell’s vision, Artistic Director Virginia Johnson, founding member/former prima ballerina and Executive Director Anna Glass, our goal for the 21st century is to build community, inspire and uplift through the power of art.