Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dance Theatre of Harlem is a leading dance institution of unparalleled global acclaim. Its mission is to maintain a world-class school that trains young people in classical ballet and the allied arts; to maintain an education and community outreach program that provides positive role models, instruction, and introduction to the arts; and to maintain a ballet company (which is currently inactive) of artists of both African American and diverse backgrounds who perform the most demanding repertoire at the highest level of quality.

Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook. Shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Mitchell was inspired to start a school that would offer children— especially those in Harlem, the community in which he was born—the opportunity to study dance and the allied arts. Mitchell, the first African American to become a permanent member of a major ballet company, was inspired to change the dance world and provide the same chance for others that he was given.

The Dance Theatre of Harlem School (DTHS), a professional studio school located in the historic Harlem community, offers exceptional dance training for talented young people. DTHS offers affordable classes and programs year-round for 500 students on average.

Dancing Through Barriers (“DTB”), DTH’s national and international education and outreach initiative, embodies the organization’s commitment to increasing access to the performing arts. Based on the conviction that artists are our best communicators and the mirrors of our society, Dancing Through Barriers® functions as a “traveling classroom,” introducing thousands of young people to the art and discipline of dance.

Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble is a group of young dancers trained in the Dance Theatre of Harlem style and developed in the spirit that has transformed perceptions surrounding classical ballet around the world. The ensemble offers a smaller and more easily affordable Dance Theatre of Harlem production entitled Interactive Performance together with lecture demonstrations, master classes, and other educational services to audiences that would otherwise be excluded because of economic and geographical circumstances.

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Jessye Norman