The country’s first African-American ballet company returns to St. Louis in all its splendor, glory and magnificence! Dance St. Louis presents Dance Theatre of Harlem on November 7-8 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. It’s been a decade since Dance Theatre of Harlem performed in St. Louis, and the company itself took an eight-year hiatus in 2004. Now, the newly relaunched company with a 45-year history performs an eclectic, demanding repertoire at the highest level, ranging from new and classical to neoclassical and contemporary. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the resurgence of this globally acclaimed dance institution.
WHO: Dance St. Louis
WHAT: Dance Theatre of Harlem
WHEN: Friday, November 7 at 8 p.m. & Saturday, November 8 at 2 & 8 p.m.
WHERE: Touhill Performing Arts Center
TICKETS: $40-65 for evening performances; $40 for Saturday matinee (click here)
Since its relaunch Dance Theatre of Harlem, which consists of 18 racially diverse dance artists, has received outstanding accolades, critical acclaim and extensive media attention. Under the artistic direction of the remarkable and esteemed Virginia Johnson, former Dance Theatre of Harlem principal dancer and founding member, the company continues to take the world by storm.
Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and the late Karel Shook, Dance Theatre of Harlem was considered “one of ballet’s most exciting undertakings” (The New York Times, 1971). After its establishment, the company received unparalleled international acclaim and unprecedented success. Audiences all over the world were touched with performances of Creole Giselle, Agon, Dougla, Les Biches, Swan Lake, A Streetcar Named Desire, Firebird, Fall River Legend and more than a hundred ballets in the company’s repertoire. It has been said that Dance Theatre of Harlem definitively debunked historical stereotypes and opinions that African Americans could not dance ballet.
St. Louis Program (Program is subject to change.)
The St. Louis program features a new ballet by one of America’s most diverse and sought after choreographers, Darrell Grand Moultrie, a Julliard graduate, performer and master teacher who has been on faculty at several artistic institutions in the United States and has choreographed everything from national commercials and works on Broadway to ballet. Dance Theatre of Harlem performs the world premiere of Moultrie’s ballet in Washington, D.C. in October, a few weeks prior to the St. Louis performances.
The company also performs New Bach. Choreographed by Robert Garland and set to music by J.S. Bach, New Bach was created for the first company, performed by the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, and now comes into the new company’s repertoire. Dance Theatre of Harlem Founder Arthur Mitchell instilled the dynamism of neoclassical ballet into the company, and Robert Garland has captured its essence with New Bach. Infused with popular dance vernacular, the work is a supreme expression of post-modern-urban neoclassicism and is a tribute to George Balanchine’s neoclassical ballet. The company also pays tribute to legendary choreographer George Balanchine in another way, performing his Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux.
The St. Louis program includes innovative choreographer Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven (Odes to Love and Loss), set to “Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten” by Arvo Pärt, noted as one of the most performed contemporary composers in the world. Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, subtitled Odes to Love and Loss, 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, Dove explained, “To me, Arvo Pärt’s music can send souls to heaven. I want to tell an experience in movement, a story without words, and create a poetic monument over people I loved.” Dove’s spare but demanding choreography invites dancer and viewer alike to live in each moment as if it were the last.
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