company

2013 - 2014 Repertoire

 

 

AGON

Choreography: George Balanchine

Music: Igor Stravinsky

Lighting: Peter D. Leonard
Première: December 1, 1957, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama
DTH première: June 27, 1971, Teatro Nuovo, Spoleto, Italy
Number of dancers: 12
Running time: 24 minutes

 

A ground-breaking 1957 collaboration between two monumental 20th-century artists, choreographer George Balanchine and composer Igor Stravinsky, Agon is universally regarded as a masterwork that redefined ballet in its time. In Agon, (ancient Greek for contest), 12 dancers perform a series of solos, duets, trios and quartets based on 17th-century French court dances. DTH Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus Arthur Mitchell danced the central pas de deux in Agon at the ballet's premiere.

 

CONTESTED SPACE

Choreography: Donald Byrd Music: Amon Tobin
Costumes: Natasha Guruleva
Lighting: Peter D. Leonard
Assistant to the Choreographer: Jamal Story
Premiere: February 7, 2012
DTH Premiere: November 16, 2012
Number of Dancers 10

Running time: 34 minutes

Performance Clip

 

Donald Byrd’s first work for Dance Theatre of Harlem, Contested Space is an exploration of contemporary couplings and relationships, examined through the lens of a 21st-century, post-neoclassical sensibility.

 

DANCING ON THE FRONT PORCH OF HEAVEN (Odes to love and loss)

Choreography: Ulysses Dove
Music: Arvo Pärt (Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, 1977)
Costume Design: Jorge Gallardo 
Lighting: Björn Nilsson

Company Première: October 4, 2013
Number of Dancers: 6 Running time: 20 minutes       Subtitled “Odes to Love and Loss,” Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven was choreographed for the Royal Swedish Ballet in 1993 during a challenging period in Ulysses Dove’s life. Having lost 13 close friends and relatives, among them his father, D ove himself 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 in each moment as if it were the last.   Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven was developed in part at the Vineyard Arts Project in Edgartown, MA: Ashley Melone, Founder and Artistic Director.

 

 

 

 

FAR BUT CLOSE


Choreography: John Alleyne

Text: Daniel Beaty
Music: Daniel Bernard Roumain
Costumes: Emilio Sosa
Lighting: Gerald King
Assistant to the Choreographer: Kellye A. Saunders

Première: November 16, 2012


Number of dancers: 4


Running time: 28 minutes

Performance Clip

 

Far But Close is a new way of looking at how the language of ballet can be used to tell a story. Playwright and spoken word artist Daniel Beaty created the frame with a powerful tale that explores the healing power of romantic love. John Alleyne’s choreography reveals the people inside the story, defining character and relationship as bodies move through space. Holding it altogether and propelling the story forward, is the soulful rhythm of Daniel Bernard Roumain’s music. A contemporary love story takes the viewer on a sublime journey filled with passion and ultimately understanding.  

Far But Close was commissioned by Dance Theatre of Harlem as part of Harlem Dance Works 2.0, an initiative made possible through a Rockefeller Foundation 2010 NYC Cultural Innovation Grant. All music was performed and recorded by Daniel Bernard Roumain. Text was performed by Daniel Beaty and Harriet D. Foy.

This ballet was developed in part at Vineyard Arts Project: Ashley Melone, Founder and Artistic Director.

GLINKA PAS DE TROIS

 

Choreography: George Balanchine

Music: Mikhail Glinka, Russlan and Ludmilla, Opus 5: Act III, No. 15. Dances

Lighting: Peter D. Leonard
Première: 1955, New York City Ballet
DTH première: January 17, 2012, Huntsville AL
Number of Dancers: 3

Running time: 13 minutes

 

Created in 1955 as a vehicle for New York City Ballet luminaries Melissa Hayden, Patricia Wilde, and André Eglevsky, Glinka Pas de Trois is quintessential Balanchine in which the choreographer calls upon the resources of three dancers to perform with great speed and split-second timing as they execute a wide variety of technical feats all within the classical idiom.   

 

GLORIA

Choreography: Robert Garland
Music: Francis Poulenc
Costume Design and Execution: Pamela Allen-Cummings
Lighting: Roma Flowers  
Première: October 20, 2012
Number of Dancers: 14

Running time: 25 minutes

Performance Clip

 

Harlem has rich cultural legacy that includes music, (jazz, hip-hop), and literature (the Harlem Renaissances’ Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes to name a few). Not as well known, but equally vibrant, is its spiritual legacy. Gloria stands as a tribute to that history and legacy that still abides in the community of Harlem.

The choreographer dedicates this work to the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, and its current Pastor, the Reverend Calvin Otis Butts III.

Gloria was developed in part at Vineyard Arts Project: Ashley Melone, Founder and Artistic Director.

 

IN THE MIRROR OF HER MIND

Choreography: Christopher Huggins
Music: Henryk Goreski, Symphony No. 3, Op. 36, 2nd movement, Lento e largo—Tranquillissimo

Costumes: Natasha Guruleva

Lighting: Peter D. Leonard
Première: August 17, 2011
Number of Dancers: 4

Running Time: 10 minutes

 

In this powerful work, one woman, reflects on the loves and losses of her lifetime represented by three different men.

 
“In the Mirror of Her Mind” was created by Christopher Huggins to benefit Dancers Responding to AIDS with generous support provided by Chris Fraley & Victor Self and the Fund in the Sun Foundation.

 

 

 

 

THE LARK ASCENDING

Choreography: Alvin Ailey
Music: Ralph Vaughn Williams
Première: 1972, the Ailey Company
DTH première: October 20, 2012
Staging: Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish
Costumes: Bea Feitler
Lighting: Chenault Spence
Number of dancers: 12
Running Time: 15 minutes

Performance Clip

To Vaughan Williams, with his intense love of the English countryside that he knew in his youth, the lark represented the heart's rapture and the soul's aspiration.  A miniature violin concerto in all but name, the composer called it a "Romance" when he completed it in 1920, after beginning it before war broke out in 1914.  The violin rises and soars aloft above a delicate orchestral accompaniment, followed by a short folksonglike middle section, and then the soloist again takes wing.  Some lines from a poem by George Meredith are inscribed on the score and aptly define the music's rhapsodic character:

 

Singing till his heaven fills
Tis love of earth that he instils
And ever winging up and up
Our valley is his golden cup
And he the wine which overflows
To lift us with him as he goes.


(from "Poems and Lyrics of the Joys of Earth"  Noel Goodwin)

The re-staging and performance of The Lark Ascending has been made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of American Masterpieces:  Three Centuries of Artistic Genius. Special Thanks to the Alvin Ailey Theater Foundation for the permission to perform this piece.

New Bach (company revival)

Choreography:

Robert Garland Music: J. S.Bach

Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041
Lighting: Roma Flowers
Costumes: Pamela Allen
Première: 1999, City Center, NYC

Performance Clip

Created for the first company, New Bach was performed by the DTH Ensemble and now comes into the new company’s repertoire. The dynamism of neoclassical ballet was instilled in Dance Theatre of Harlem by our founder, Arthur Mitchell and Robert Garland has captured its essence with New Bach. It is a supreme expression of post-modern-urban neoclassicism and is a tribute to George Balanchine’s neoclassical ballet it is also infused with popular dance vernacular. “Prejudices are sophisticatedly acquired tastes that destroy innocence—that state of purity in which man can b e in accord with himself, his fellow men, and attuned to nature. This innocence is one of the intrinsic beauties of man and if we do not regain it soon, we will perish. True dance, in any of its myriad forms, is an expression of this innocence, and it is through dance that man has the possibility to find himself again.” - Karel Shook (from Elements of Classical Ballet Technique, 1977)

 

 

Pas de Dix

From Raymonda, Act III

Based on Frederic Franklin's 1984 staging for DTH

Re-Staged: Keith Saunders, Kellye Saunders and Virginia Johnson
Original music: Alexander Glazunov
New Orchestration for small ensemble: Jack Perla
Costumes executed by EuroCo
Premiere: March 18, 2014, Midland, TX

Number of Dancers: 10

Running Time: 23 minutes

 

The elegance, structure and rigor of classical ballet are fundamental to Dance Theatre of Harlem. Works such as Pas de Dix are touchstones of the art form, but are most often presented as opportunities for lavish design to reference the 19th century period in which they were created. With this production, DTH goes beneath the surface to reveal the classicism inherent in the interrelated beauty of movement, space and music. This is a signature statement about classical ballet in the 21st century. It is a sleek and expressive exploration that strips away elaborate settings and costumes to reveal the elegant architecture of Marius Petipa’s choreography.

 

past-carry-forward

 

Choreography: Tanya Wideman-Davis and Thaddeus Davis

Dramaturge: Thomas F. DeFrantz

Music: Willie “The Lion” Smith and SLIPPAGE (Thomas F. DeFrantz and Jamie Keesecker)

Costumes Design and Execution: Charles Heightchew

Lighting: Peter Jakubowski and Peter D. Leonard

Première: October 17, 2013
Number of Dancers: 9
Running time: 34 minutes

Performance Clip

 

With past-carry-forward choreographers Tanya Wideman-Davis and Thaddeus Davis have created a work that considers the legacy of the Great Migration of African Americans from the agrarian South to the industrial North in the early part of the twentieth-century. The migration forced many young African Americans into difficult situations, making choices to leave family at home in the South while they searched for the promise of a better life in the North. The Harlem Renaissance, the African American presence in a segregated military, working in the segregated service industry as Pullman railroad porters and as entertainers to white American audiences are also considered in the work.

The choreographers began this project as a way to consider the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance, a dynamic cultural movement that shaped African American participation in world culture in the 1920s.  Wideman and Davis conceived the work as an exploration of the concept of "double consciousness," a philosophical idea proffered by leading African American intellectual W.E.B. DuBois, who wondered at the necessity for African Americans to live behind the "veil" of racial separation; to strive as both black and American, with those often contradictory political identities.

 

Dramaturge Thomas DeFrantz has developed a historically based website centered around the development of this production.

 

 

RETURN


Choreography: Robert Garland

Music: Aretha Franklin and James Brown
Costumes: Pamela Allen-Cummings
Lighting: Roma Flowers
Première: 1999, City Center, NY
Number of dancers: 12

Running time: 25 minutes

Performance Clip

 

A rousing blend of the elegance of classical ballet and the gritty drive of soul music, Return is a quintessential DTH ballet. To songs of Aretha Franklin and James Brown,  Garland pushes the boundaries of ballet technique and form, incorporating and blending vernacular movement from the African American experience. From Pas de Bouree to the Cabbage Patch, Ballone to the bump, the ballet fulfills Dance Theatre of Harlem's idea of what it means to be "Classically American".

 

SWAN LAKE (Act III pas de deux)

Staging: Anna-Marie Holmes after Marius Petipa and Nicholas Sergeyev
Music: Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky
Lighting: Peter D. Leonard
DTH première: November 9, 2012
Number of dancers: 2
Running time: 11 minutes

 

Originally produced in 1877, Swan Lake has become one of the most enduring of classical ballets. The Act III Pas de Deux, which dates from 1895, is a universal favorite and a showcase for bravura technique. The Black Swan pas de deux, as this selection is popularly known, was staged for Dance Theatre of Harlem in 2012 by former ballerina and renowned coach and teacher Anna-Marie Holmes who learned the role in St. Petersburg from the great Kirov ballerina Natalia Dudinskaya.

 




 

 


 

WHEN LOVE

Choreography by Helen Pickett
Music by Philip Glass
Costumes: Charles Heightchew
Original Artwork for Fabric: Gary Kleinschmidt
Lighting: Mark Stanley
Assistant to the Choreographer: Kellye A. Saunders
Première: October 20, 2012
Number of Dancers: 2
Running time: 8 minutes

Performance Clip

Insistent time maps our days. But, when we are in love we surrender to unbridled time. What we share together during this span seems “out of time.” And then, too suddenly, time shifts into focus again. An imprint of what we shared lingers, and traces of remembrances float into view. Yes, we crawl, walk, run, and love in time. But in these brief, wondrous periods we experience timeless love, and we dance our being.   - Helen Pickett
Music: Knee 5 from Einstein on the Beach

 

When Love was created as part of Harlem Dance Works 2.0, an initiative made possible through a Rockefeller Foundation 2010 NYC Cultural Innovation Grant