As Dance Theatre of Harlem turns 50, Arthur Mitchell's company has proven to be just as tenacious and resilient as he was. At times it looked like it wouldn't make it. But with the spirit of the phoenix it rises again.
Every member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem family can recite co-founder Arthur Mitchell's credo, "You represent something larger than yourself." Whether consciously or not, they all move through the world accordingly. Mitchell often remarked that "I don't have no dumb dancers," and he took pride in the fact that after being at DTH, dancers could be successful in any field they entered.
DTH Alumni Theresa Ruth Howard For Dance Magazine
"With the recent passing of Mr. Mitchell, I feel an even greater responsibility to share and grow the vision he began," says longtime company member Lindsey Croop. "Art is both transformative and transcendent, and because of DTH, there is a place for everyone." Photo by Kyle Froman for Pointe.ne."
Ballet dancers of color have long painted, dyed or covered point shoes in makeup to match their skin. Could this small barrier to inclusion finally be disappearing?
Dance Theatre of Harlem, The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD), and Dance/USA are pleased to announce The Equity Project: Increasing the Presence of Blacks in Ballet, a three-year partnership program to support the advancement of racial equity in professional ballet companies.
Gayle McKinney Griffith, photographed by legendary New York dance/theater photographer Martha Swope, was an original dance member of Dance Theatre of Harlem, the nation’s first major black classical company. She danced with the company and worked directly with DTH founder and director Arthur Mitchell from 1968 to 1978. (Photo by Martha Swope courtesy of Dance Theatre of Harlem)
Dance Theatre of Harlem - Rachel Neville