Dance Theatre of Harlem to perform on Nov. 12 as part of 50th anniversary tour

October 15, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For half a century, Dance Theatre of Harlem has provided access to ballet for all. The New York City company will make its first appearance at Penn State since 1995 when it performs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, in Eisenhower Auditorium.

The program is scheduled to include “Valse Fantaisie” (1953), choreographed by George Balanchine and danced to music by Mikhail Glinka; “This Bitter Earth” (2012), a pas de deux by Christopher Wheeldon, performed to a song composed by Max Richter and Clyde Otis and sung by Dinah Washington; “Passage” (2019), a ballet inspired by the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first African slaves in Virginia, choreographed by Claudia Schreier, and set to music by Catalyst Quartet violinist and composer Jessie Montgomery; and “Return” (1999), the signature work of the company’s longtime resident choreographer Robert Garland, which is performed to a suite of songs sung by James Brown and Aretha Franklin.

Visit the Center for the Performing Arts online or call 814-863-0255 for more information. Five dollars of each ticket sold will support Penn State THON.

Comprised of an international touring company, a training school and a celebrated arts education and community engagement program, Dance Theatre of Harlem demonstrates the power of art to transform lives.

Compelled to make a positive impact following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the legendary dancer Arthur Mitchell started a school with his teacher, Karel Shook. Mitchell’s idea was to offer children in the Harlem neighborhood, in which he grew up, the opportunity to change their futures by challenging themselves against the rigors of a classical art form. In 1971, only two years after its founding, The New York Times called Dance Theatre of Harlem “one of ballet’s most exciting undertakings.”

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this season, the company has an extraordinary legacy based on thrilling performances and artistic excellence predicated on providing opportunity where none had existed. Through performance, training and education, the impact of Dance Theatre of Harlem continues to be felt across the globe.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring Dance Theatre of Harlem Artistic Director Virginia Johnson, is offered one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.

Blake and Linda Gall sponsor the presentation. The Debra Lee Latta and Dr. Stanley E. Latta Endowment provides support.

This event is part of the Center for the Performing Arts season focus, “The American Experience: Through an African-American Lens.” Sandra Zaremba and Richard Brown provide support for engagement programming related to this and other season-focus presentations.

A talk by Virginia Johnson

The Dance Theatre of Harlem artistic director will speak about “Beauty, Identity and Ballet in the 21st Century” at noon Tuesday, Nov. 12, in Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium on the University Park campus. The talk is free and open to the public. The 45-minute talk includes a history of Dance Theatre of Harlem and is accompanied by PowerPoint slides. Refreshments will be served beforehand, beginning at 11:30 a.m., in 103 Paterno Library (Mann Assembly Room).

Johnson is a founding member and former principal dancer of the company. After retiring from performing, she founded Pointe magazine and served as its editor-in-chief from 2000 to 2009.

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Last Updated October 15, 2019