Dance Theatre of Harlem

Sunday Matinée | March 21, 2021


Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Sunday Matinée series grew out of Co-founder Arthur Mitchell’s commitment to providing the community access to the arts. Join us on Zoom for an inspiring afternoon of artistry on March 21st, 2021 at 3pm EST! There will be a discussion with the artists immediately following the performance. Virtual Tickets are $7. Ticket purchases will close at 12pm ET on the day of the event.

Hosted by DTH Alumna, Ramona Lisa Ortiz-Smith, MBA, enjoy LIVE and recorded performances by the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company, Cellist Khari Joyner, Classical Kathak Dancer Barkha Patel and Poet Shanelle Gabrielle. Learn more about the artists below. View the program

Once your purchase is made, the Zoom details will be included in your confirmation email. If you don’t receive the Zoom details, please contact our Arts Education & Outreach Manager, Sophia Morris directly at


Ramona Lisa Ortiz-Smith, MBA – Host

Ramona Lisa Ortiz-Smith, MBA, (she), Dance Theatre of Harlem Alumna, brings 25+ years of cumulative meditation practice and spiritual studies to her livelihood as a Spiritual Teacher and Leader. Silent Vipassana (insight) meditation retreats and Theravada Buddhist studies have been her focus for 12+ years. She completed the East Bay Meditation Center’s (EBMC) Commit to Dharma program and Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Dedicated Practitioners Program and is currently completing mindfulness training certification with the Mindfulness Training Institute (MTI) and she is also in the first cohort of EBMC’s 2-year Spiritual Teacher and Leadership training. As a sole proprietress, Ramona Lisa offers various services to mindfulness organizations and their leadership ( ). As an ordained Minister, she enjoys creating and leading personalized marriage ceremonies.


Dance Theatre of Harlem Company 

Dance Theatre of Harlem Company’s performance will be Robert Garland’s New Bach. Now a singular presence in the ballet world, the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company tours nationally and internationally, presenting a powerful vision for ballet in the 21st century. The 18-member, multi-ethnic company performs a forward-thinking repertoire that includes treasured classics, neoclassical works by George Balanchine and resident choreographer Robert Garland, as well as innovative contemporary works that use the language of ballet to celebrate African American culture. Through performances, community engagement and arts education, the Company carries forward Dance Theatre of Harlem’s message of empowerment through the arts for all.


Khari Joyner – Cellist

Described by the New York Classical Review as “one of the most exciting young musicians on the classical scene”, Khari Joyner has a following both nationally and abroad as a versatile soloist, chamber musician, and ambassador for the arts. He has made numerous guest appearances with orchestras and ensembles across the world, including two recent performances of both Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto in A Minor and Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which received rave reviews. In addition, he has given many cello masterclasses and lectures at notable institutions, most recently at Stetson University and Oberlin Conservatory. Joyner also received a 2017-2018 career grant from the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund, which nominates and endows a select number of gifted artists with generous funding to further their careers. Joyner has also performed for Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the latter for which he gave a private performance in the Oval Office. A graduate of Juilliard’s prestigious Doctor of Musical Arts program, he continues to serve as Teaching Assistant to his former teacher Joel Krosnick, and as recently joined the Faculty at Mannes Prep.


Barkha Patel – Classical Kathak Dancer

Born in India, brought up in New York, Barkha stays deeply connected to her cultural roots through her artistic practice as a kathak dancer, choreographer, educator, and the Artistic Director of Barkha Dance Company. She has trained in kathak both in India and New Jersey for over two decades with renowned kathak maestros and has a Master’s in Performing Arts from Kalidasa Sanskrit University.

A touring artist, Barkha has performed at dance festivals in India to the U.S. Barkha recently created an ensemble work called Mukta, A Woman Liberated, which was in residency at the Center for Flamenco Arts and has presented at numerous festivals in NYC. She has been nationally recognized for her work: she completed a choreographic fellowship with the N.J.P.A.C., received a 2020 Fellow with the N.J. Council on the Arts, and is Dance/USA Institute for Leadership mentee. Barkha was recently announced as a 2021 Forge Consultancy Fellow.

Barkha teaches young and adult students from all over the United States. Acknowledging the lack of community for kathak dancers in NYC, Barkha co-founded a kathak meetup group. The meetup started in January 2020 as an inclusive space for kathak dancers to practice and discuss crucial topics to the art form.


Shanelle Gabriel- Poet

Shanelle Gabriel is a poet, singer, health advocate, and the Program Director at Urban Word NYC. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Shanelle featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam alongside Jill Scott and DMX and has shared the stage with artists such as Talib Kweli, Nas, Eric Benet, and more. A member of the 2006 Nuyorican Poets Cafe Slam Team and competitor in the Individual World Poetry Slam, Shanelle was spotlighted on the Rachael Ray Show, in a promo for the NFL Draft, in Women’s Health Magazine, in a promo by Nike & Footlocker, and narrated Jennifer Hudson’s audio-book of her biography I Got This. She was named one of “8 Millennial Feminist Poets That Deserve Recognition” by and listed as one of’s “Artist Activists You Should Know.” She’s performed in 43 of the 50 US States as well as in Africa, Bermuda, and more.



Photo Credits:

Dance Theatre of Harlem Company | Photo by Cherylynn Tsushima

Khari Joyner | Photo by Jiyang Chen

Shanelle Gabrielle |  Photo by Reggie Exilus





Support for Dance Theatre of Harlem Community Programs made possible in part by: