Things to do

Why you should check out Dance Theatre of Harlem’s 1st performances in Charlotte

Dance Theatre of Harlem, the world’s first black classical ballet company, has been transforming lives for more than 45 years through arts education, its ballet school and professional ballet company.

This weekend, for the first time in the history of the company, Dance Theatre of Harlem will perform in Charlotte at the Knight Theater. They will feature everything from their classic pieces to their cutting-edge works while highlighting politics, love, loss and more throughout the performances.

Performance D – Lindsey Croop Photo by Rachel Neville img 1904 (2)

Having the Dance Theatre of Harlem here in Charlotte is a big deal. Blumenthal Performing Arts, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts+Culture and Wells Fargo came together to make this historic show happen and even gave 1,200 (equivalent to a full house) tickets to those in the community who were least likely to have resources to see the group.

The history of the Dance Theatre of Harlem

Founders Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook started the company as a response to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination and as a way to make a positive impact in the African-American community. They have since taken their company on the road, leading to international acclaim.

Each component of this leading dance institution is dedicated to enriching the lives of young people and adults, nationally and internationally through the arts.

Performance B- Heaven Davon Doane and Ashley Murphy, Photo by Rachel Neville (2)

Why Dance Theatre of Harlem is a big deal

– Dance Theatre of Harlem is the world’s first black classical ballet company.

– It has performed for Presidents and First Lady’s including Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama.

– Over the past two years, DTH has visited 49 US cities and seven countries.

– Over the past two years, DTH has provided classes to 6,000 ballet students.

– Over the next three years, DTH plans to reach 75,000 students and educators through arts education and community engagement.

– Over the next three years, DTH will commission six new ballets.

Performance E – Emiko Flanagan, Ingrid Silva and Jenelle Figgins, Photo by Rachel Neville (2)

Want to go?

Tickets are sold out for Friday but there is availability for the Saturday (2 p.m. and 8 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.) shows. Tickets start at $19.50.

Buy tickets to the here or by calling 704-372-1000.

Note: Check the Blumenthal Performing Arts website to see if this weekend’s winter weather will affect any of the shows.

Can’t make the show?

You can visit a five-month long exhibit called “Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts” at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.

The evolution and history of the dance company will be on full display, showcasing costumes, set pieces, photographs and tour posters from notable ballets including “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Firebird.”

Your performance ticket gives you access to the exhibit, which runs through June 26. Learn more about the exhibit here or by calling 704-547-3700.

Photos by Rachel Neville