Dance Theatre of Harlem

Donor Spotlight

Michelle Merchant

I’ve been a fan of ballet and modern dance for as long as I can remember. I attended my first Dance Theatre of Harlem performance in 1986 at City College in Upper Manhattan. I was so moved by the performance as it was the first time that I saw Black ballet dancers.

I attended many other DTH performances since that first experience, but none as magical as a 2014 performance at NY City Center when I was able to take my then eight year old daughter. During that amazing performance, a gentleman sitting next to my daughter told her “you are so lucky to be here.”

Watching the dancers that afternoon through my daughter’s eyes, I realized just how lucky we all were to be there. I knew then that I needed to do more to support and preserve this wonderful company so that others could have the privilege to experience the gift that is DTH. I believed then, as I do now, that Arthur Mitchell’s vision and legacy must continue for its importance to our culture and history. As Arthur Mitchell said, “The arts ignite the mind. They give you the possibility to dream and hope.”

I am so grateful for Arthur Mitchell’s passion for ballet. I admire that he used his own money to start a ballet school to provide opportunities in dance for the children of the Harlem community and for creating a cultural institution that represents a great achievement for the Black community.

I support DTH because I believe wholeheartedly in its mission to diversify classical ballet and enrich its audiences and our culture. I am invested in the enduring success of DTH.

There are many ways that I have found to support DTH.

· I attend multiple performances each April at City Center and bring along my many friends to introduce them to DTH. It’s my hope that once my friends experience DTH that they will return, bring others, and become supporters as well.

· I support the DTH silent auction at their annual gala. I was thrilled to be the winning bidder for dinner with the legendary Virginia Johnson. This is one of my most cherished DTH memories.

· Lastly, as part of my annual charitable giving, I make a financial donation and always secure my employer’s company match up to the maximum amount possible.

We all have the capacity to give, whether with our time, resources, spreading the word or sharing our network, and it is up to each of us to commit to support the causes and organizations we believe in. I consider it a privilege and blessing to be able to support DTH, an organization that brings so much beauty and joy to audiences at home and around the world. DTH is a cultural icon and I give to help ensure Arthur Mitchell’s legacy will remain a vital part of our American culture and history.