Monday, March 28, 2011

The Dance Theatre of Harlem Set to Host Inaugural Vision Gala

By Akira Barclay, New York Contributor

Honorary Gala Chair Jessye Norman, Opera Icon & Victoria Rowell, Actress, Dancer and Author, will honor Arthur Mitchell, Co-Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of the Dance Theatre of Harlem at the Inaugural Vision Gala

[Via Press Release] New York, March 2011: Jessye Norman, Honorary Gala Chair and the Dance Theatre of Harlem Board of Trustees will honor co-founder and Artistic Director Emeritus, Arthur Mitchell, at the Inaugural Vision Gala. The evening will be hosted by actress, author and former dancer, Victoria Rowell.

The Gala will take place on Monday, April 25, 2011, 7pm at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 165 West 65th Street, New York. The reservation only event will include dinner, dancing and performances by students from the School, the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble and special guest artists. Proceeds will benefit the Next Generation Fund for scholarships and financial aid to students at the Dance Theatre of Harlem School. For inquiries and to purchase tickets call Sharon Williams Duncan at 212-690-2800.

About the Honoree: Arthur Mitchell is acclaimed as the first African American to become a permanent member of a major U. S. ballet company—electrifying audiences around the world with his performances—before going on to greater artistic and social impact as co-founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. As a dancer, Mr. Mitchell is best known for two career-defining roles: Agon and Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both created for him by George Balanchine at the New York City Ballet. In 1969, leaving a brilliant performing career behind, he founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem with his teacher and mentor Karel Shook, turning it into one of America’s premier ballet companies and schools. In the process Mr. Mitchell established himself as a dynamic choreographer and extraordinary teacher.

Forty-two years later, the institution born out of the turmoil of the Civil Rights era and the tragedy of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. endures as a testament not only to Mr. Mitchell’s commitment to transforming young lives through the arts, but also to the vision that enabled him to defy convention and provide opportunity where none had existed before.

About the Dance Theatre of Harlem: Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) is a leading dance institution of unparalleled global acclaim, encompassing a dance company, 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, Artistic Director Emeritus and Karel Shook, the institution 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.

Serving as cultural ambassadors and representatives of the people of the United States they have participated in high profile tours abroad, notably to the former USSR in 1988, South Africa after the fall of Apartheid in 1992; and to China in 2000 following the signing of the 2000 US-China trade treaty. The DTH School and its arts education and outreach programs serve over 25,000 students and educators each year. Over 65% of students study on scholarship or tuition assistance at the school with an overwhelming number singling out their DTH experience as among the most important in their lives.

In 2008, a 14-member touring group called Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble was commissioned to carry the DTH legacy to wider American audiences and has impacted over 75,000 audience members since. In January 2010, Virginia Johnson, former Dance Theatre of Harlem prima ballerina and founding editor of Pointe Magazine succeeded co-founder Arthur Mitchell as Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem. DTH is located at 466 West 152nd Street in a landmark district in Harlem. The organization’s award winning building houses four dance studios, administrative offices, library and archives, and physical therapy facilities. Visit the website at http://www.dancetheatreofharlem.org/.

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