Dance Theatre Of Harlem Opens Tonight With MLK Commemoration

New York's beloved Dance Theatre of Harlem, under the artistic direction of Virginia Johnson, returns to NY City Center for its annual homecoming season tonight, April 4, the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with the annual Vision Gala, honoring dance legend Carmen de Lavallade and civil rights icon Xernona Clayton.

The season continues with programs of works by such legendary and celebrated choreographers as Christopher Wheeldon, Marius Petipa, Darrell Grand Moultrie, and DTH legends George Balanchine and Geoffrey Holder. Tickets for Dance Theatre of Harlem's 2018 Season at New York City Center range in price from $35 - $115 and can be arranged through CityTix at, by calling (212) 581-1212 or by visiting the New York City Center box office located at 131 West 55th Street.

This year's Vision Gala, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reflects on the legacy of Dr. King and the impact of that tragic event. Less than a year later, in February 1969, Arthur Mitchell and his mentor, Karel Shook founded Dance Theatre of Harlem as a beacon of hope for the youth in the neighborhood where Mitchell grew up - Harlem. In a few short years, DTH became a leading dance institution of unparalleled global acclaim. That legacy continues through its school, which serves more than 700 teens and children nationally and from the New York City metropolitan area; its Dancing Through Barriers arts-education and community engagement program; and its world-renowned ballet company. The 2018 Vision Gala, honoring arts legend and recent Kennedy Center Honoree Carmen de Lavallade and civil rights leader and pioneering broadcast executive Xernona Clayton, will take place at the Park Hyatt New York, located at 153 West 57th Street.

"Dance Theatre of Harlem's 2018 New York City Center programming beautifully reflects our goal of celebrating the future while honoring the past," Artistic Director Virginia Johnson said today. "From the joyous and soulful Harlem on My Mind by Darrell Grand Moultrie, to Marius Petipa's breathtaking and dynamic Le Corsaire. The melding of what's been and what's to come in DTH's first collaboration with Christopher Wheeldon with This Bitter Earth, to a company premiere of George Balanchine's Valse-Fantaisie, and the long-awaited revival of my dear late friend Geoffrey Holder's Dougla, a piece that truly reflects what and who Dance Theatre of Harlem is. I'm thrilled to share these works - along with our own Robert Garland's Braham's Variations and Dianne McIntyre's Change at the opening night Vision Gala performance - with our neighbors, friends and fellow dance lovers this spring. At DTH, the movement, which began over 49 years ago, continues."

Dance Theatre of Harlem's 2018 season promises thrilling evenings of dance, featuring unique and inspiring works that reflect the company's rich legacy and the diversity of 21st century ballet. Highlights include the New York premieres of acclaimed choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie's Harlem on My Mind; This Bitter Earth, the breathtakingly elegant work by Christopher Wheeldon, set to the music of Dinah Washington and Max Richter; George Balanchine's beloved Valse-Fantaisie; and, live music & guest artists from Collage Dance Collective, under the leadership of former DTH dancer Kevin Thomas, will accompany the revival of the legendary choreographer Geoffrey Holder's masterwork Dougla.

Programing for Dance Theatre of Harlem's 2018 New York City Center Season:

Wednesday, April 4 at 7pm: Opening Night Performance and Vision Gala Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Honoring Carmel de Lavallade and Xernona Clayton

Brahms Variations (excerpt) by Robert Garland
Change by Dianne McIntyre
Pièce d' Occasion by Robert Garland danced by the extraordinary students of the DTH School
Le Corsaire Pas de Deux by Marius Petipa
Dougla (Company Revival) by Geoffrey Holder

Friday, April 6 at 8pm

Valse-Fantaisie (Company Premiere) by George Balanchine
This Bitter Earth (Company Premiere) by Christopher Wheeldon
Harlem on My Mind (New York Premiere) by Darrell Grand Moultrie
Dougla (Company Revival) by Geoffrey Holder

Stay after the performance for Inside the Ballet, a conversation with Carmen de Lavallade

on the creation of Geoffrey Holder's magnificent masterwork, Dougla.

Saturday, April 7 at 2pm: Family Matinee

Valse-Fantaisie (Company Premiere) by George Balanchine
Le Corsaire Pas de Deux by Marius Petipa
Harlem On My Mind (New York Premiere) by Darrell Grand Moultrie
Dougla (Company Revival) by Geoffrey Holder

- Special Post-Performance event: Meet the Ballerina -

Saturday, April 7 at 8pm

Valse-Fantaisie (Company Premiere) by George Balanchine
This Bitter Earth (Company Premiere) by Christopher Wheeldon
Harlem on My Mind (New York Premiere) by Darrell Grand Moultrie
Dougla (Company Revival) by Geoffrey Holder

Followed by the Closing Night Party with DJ Trauma and the dancers for Saturday evening ticket holders (age 21+). Space is limited. Pre-registration required

Casting To Be Announced

-Programming is subject to change-

Please note: there is no performance on Thursday, April 5


Valse Fantaisie by George Balanchine

When George Balanchine created this version of Valse Fantaisie to Mikhail Glinka's music of the same name, he employed his signature musicality, fleetness and brilliance. New to the Dance Theatre of Harlem repertoire, Valse Fantaisie is performed by five women and one man who capture the music's joyful spirit in this gem of neo classicism.

This Bitter Earth by Christopher Wheeldon

Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon's sublime pas de deux, This Bitter Earth is set to a mashup of Max Richter's minimalist "On the Nature of Daylight" and Dinah Washington's soulful rendition of the 1960s Rhythm and Blues hit, "This Bitter Earth." The resulting brief encounter between a man and a woman leads one to believe that "...this bitter earth may not be so bitter after all."

Harlem On My Mind by Darrell Grand Moultrie

When asked to create his third work for Dance Theatre of Harlem, acclaimed choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie chose to reflect on the persistent and evolving mystique that is the place called Harlem. With music by Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis and others, Moultrie's dynamic choreography for Harlem On My Mind draws on a rich continuum of jazz to burst from the stage.

Dougla by Geoffrey Holder

In Trinidad, "Dougla" is the name given to people of African and East Indian [South Asian?] descent. The late Geoffrey Holder, performer extraordinaire, visual artist and choreographer, drew on his Trinidadian heritage to create his masterpiece ballet, Dougla, a marriage ceremony as pageant. A long-time company favorite, Dougla returns to active repertoire with live music and all of its spectacle and glory.

Le Corsaire by Marius Petipa
The "Le Corsaire Pas De Deux" is taken from a 3-act tale of love's ultimate triumph over betrayal and disaster. This excerpt is the ballet's most popular bravura showpiece and is filled with sophistication and challenging technical feats.


Darrell Grand Moultrie (Choreographer) is one of America's most sought-after choreographers and master teachers. A recipient of a prestigious Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Award, he is one of the rare choreographers who creates work in theater, modern, ballet, and commercial dance genres. Mr. Moultrie has created and staged multiple works for Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Met Columbus, Sacramento Ballet, and Milwaukee Ballet, among others. His work has also been commissioned by North Carolina Dance Theatre, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Atlanta Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Richmond Ballet, and Smuin Ballet. Most recently Grammy Award-winning recording artist Beyoncé selected Mr. Moultrie as one of her choreographers for her Mrs. Carter World Tour. He also recently collaborated with Tony Award-winning hoofer Savion Glover on a new dance project.

Born in Marseilles, France, Marius Petipa (Choreographer, 1818-1910) began his dance training at the age of seven with his father, Jean Petipa, the French dancer and teacher. Considered the "father of classical ballet," the value of his accomplishments is immeasurable, with more than 60 original full-evening ballets, dances in over 30 operas and numerous revivals. Petipa's career with the Russian Imperial Ballet lasted nearly sixty years. He was both a dancer and later a choreographer and is best remembered for ballet masterpieces such as The Nutcracker (1892), Sleeping Beauty (1890), Don Quixote (1869), La Bayadère (1877), and Le Corsaire (1856).His contributions to classical ballet have been vast due not only to his long career but to his mastery of all elements of production. Petipa elevated the Russian ballet to international fame and laid the cornerstone for 20th century ballet, which endures to this day.

Geoffrey Holder (Choreographer, 1930-2014) has aptly been described as a "Renaissance man in an age of specialists." Born into an artistic family in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, made his New York stage debut in 1954 in Harold Arlen's Broadway musical House of Flowers. This marked the beginning of a distinguished Broadway career that included Best Direction and Best Costume Tony awards for The Wiz (1975) and for Timbuktu! (1978, which he directed and choreographed. Holder choreographed such classic works for Dance Theatre of Harlem as Dougla (1974), for which he created the costumes andmusic and the world- renowned Firebird (1982) in which his lighting, set and costume designs set the ballet in a magical forest. For the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, he created costumes and music for the Prodigal Prince (1967). Geoffrey Holder was widely recognized for such roles as the villain, Baron Samedi, in the James Bond film, Live and Let Die (1973), as Punjab in Annie (1982), as Nelson in Boomerang (1992) and as the international spokesperson for the 7-Up "uncola" advertising campaign. His artistic achievements have been chronicled in the book Geoffrey Holder: A Life in Theater, Dance and Art by dance critic Jennifer Dunning (2001). Mr. Holder was married to Carmen de Lavallade for nearly sixty years.

Robert Garland (DTH Resident Choreographer), a native of Philadelphia, he danced with Ballet Hispanico before becoming a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem company where he achieved the rank of principal dancer. After creating a work for the DTH School Ensemble, Arthur Mitchell invited Mr. Garland to create a work for the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company and appointed him the organization's first resident choreographer. Over the years, Mr. Garland has created such masterful ballets as among others, New Bach, Brahms Variations and a work that has become a company signature, Return,set to the music of Aretha Franklin and James Brown. He currently directs the DTH school and is in demand as a master teacher. In addition to choreographing ballets for Dance Theatre of Harlem, Mr. Garland has also created works for New York City Ballet, Britain's The Royal Ballet, Oakland Ballet, and many others. His commercial work has included music videos, commercials, and short films, including the children's television show Sesame Street, a Nike commercial featuring New York Yankee Derek Jeter, the NAACP Image Awards, a short film for designer Donna Karan, and the "Charmin Cha-Cha" for Proctor and Gamble. Mr. Garland holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Juilliard School in New York City.

Dianne McIntyre (Choreographer) has choreographed for her own Sounds in Motion company, Philadanco, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, countless university student ensembles, American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival and Jacobs Pillow. Her music collaborators include, Olu Dara, Max Roach, Hannibal, Cecil Taylor, Lester Bowie and Don Pullen. In theatre, Ms. McIntyre has worked with Broadway, London, Off Broadway and Regional Theaters. Her film and television credits include, Beloved, Miss Evers' Boys and Langston Hughes: The Dream Keeper. She has been awarded the 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award, three Bessie Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Helen Hayes Award (D.C. Theatre), the Audelco (New York Black Theatre), the Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degrees from SUNY Purchase and Cleveland State University and numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts. Her upcoming projects include, Lost in Language and Sound, a workshop of a choreo-essay by Ntozake Shange at Karamu Theatre and a solo at New York Live Arts in association with Music, Marcos Balter and Bill T. Jones.

Christopher Wheeldon (Director & Choreographer) trained at The Royal Ballet School and joined the Royal Ballet in 1991. In he joined New York City Ballet in 1993 and was promoted to Soloist in 1998. He served as NYCB's first-ever Artist in Residence in 2000/01 and was named NYCB's first Resident Choreographer in July 2001. Wheeldon has created productions for all the world's major ballet companies including: New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and National Ballet Of Canada. In 2014 Wheeldon directed and choreographed the musical version of An American In Paris which premiered in at the Chatelet Theatre. The Broadway production premiered at the Palace Theatre a year later and won 2015 Tony Award for Best Choreography and Outer Critics Award for Best Choreography and Direction. In April 2016 Wheeldon was the Artistic Director for Les Arts Decoratif's Fashion Forward exhibit in Paris.

Dance Theatre of Harlem is a leading dance institution of unparalleled global acclaim, encompassing a performing Ensemble, a leading arts education center and Dancing Through Barriers, a national and international education and community outreach program. Each component of Dance Theatre of Harlem carries a solid commitment towards enriching the lives of young people and adults around the world through the arts. Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook, Dance Theatre of Harlem was considered "one of ballet's most exciting undertakings" (The New York Times, 1971). Shortly after the assassination of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mitchell was inspired to start a school that would offer children - especially those in Harlem, the community in which he was born - the opportunity to learn about dance and the allied arts. Now in its fifth decade, Dance Theatre of Harlem has grown into a multi-cultural dance institution with an extraordinary legacy of providing opportunities for creative expression and artistic excellence that continues to set standards in the performing arts. Dance Theatre of Harlem has achieved unprecedented success, bringing innovative and bold new forms of artistic expression to audiences in New York City, across the country and around the world.

Virginia Johnson (Artistic Director) isa founding member of Dance Theatre of Harlem and was one of its principal ballerinas over a career that spanned nearly 30 years. After retiring in 1997, Ms. Johnson went on to found Pointe Magazine and was editor-in-chief for 10 years. A native of Washington, D.C., Ms. Johnson began her training with Therrell Smith. She studied with Mary Day at the Washington School of Ballet and graduated from the Academy of the Washington School of Ballet and went on to be a University Scholar in the School of the Arts at New York University before joining Dance Theatre of Harlem. Ms. Johnson is universally recognized as one of the great ballerinas of her generation and is perhaps best known for her performances in the ballets Giselle, A Streetcar Named Desire and Fall River Legend. She has received such honors as a Young Achiever Award from the National Council of Women, Outstanding Young Woman of America, the Dance Magazine Award, a Pen and Brush Achievement Award, the Washington Performing Arts Society's 2008-2009 Pola Nirenska Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2009 Martha Hill Fund Mid-Career Award.

Dance Theatre of Harlem returns to New York City Center for four performances only, from April 4-7. This season highlights four programs of works featuring NY premieres and audience favorites - by Christopher Wheeldon, Marius Petipa, Darrel Grand Moultrie, and legends George Balanchine and Geoffrey Holder. (Please note: there is no performance on Thursday, April 5.) Tickets, ranging in price from $35 - $115 can be arranged through CityTix, by calling (212) 581-1212, visiting, or by visiting the New York City Center box office located at 131 West 55th Street. To purchase tickets to the celebratory Vision Gala, immediately following the April 4 opening night performance, please call (212) 889-4694. Groups of 10 or more, please call (212) 690-2800 x404 or email for rates. New York City Center is located at 131 West 55th Street. For more information about Dance Theatre of Harlem, please visit

Dance Theatre Of Harlem Opens Tonight With MLK Commemoration

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You

Stage and Screen Actress Marsha Kramer, Best Known For MODERN FAMILY, Has Passed Away
BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that Marsha Kramer, best known for her role on Modern Family, has passed away.... (read more)

VIDEO: Watch Sara Bareilles Perform 'She Used To Be Mine' On THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW!
Sara Bareilles is making her West End debut in London's production of Waitress, leading the show as Jenna for the next six weeks! She gave fans a snea... (read more)

Photo Flash: Get a First Look at Production Photos of CLUE: A NEW COMEDY Starring John Treacy Egan and More
Performances of Clue: A New Comedy began on January 25th at Cleveland Play House.... (read more)

Photo Flash: Inside Rehearsal For BACK TO THE FUTURE the Musical
Rehearsal images have been released for the upcoming musical adaptation of BACK TO THE FUTURE!... (read more)

Kevin Chamberlin Joins the Cast of THE PROM Film
Kevin Chamberlin is going to the prom! According to an updated cast list on IMDB, the three time Tony nominated actor will portray Sheldon Saperstein ... (read more)

VIDEO: Andrew Barth Feldman Bids Farewell to DEAR EVAN HANSEN; Plays Final Performance Today
Andrew Barth Feldman bids farewell to Dear Evan Hansen today, January 26.... (read more)