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FAMU Lyceum Series to Present Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble

December 22, 2011

. – The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Lyceum Series is proud to present the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble (DTHE), Friday, January 27, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. in Lee Hall Auditorium.

Tickets are now available through ticketmaster.com and the FAMU box office located in the Alfred Lawson Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium for $20, $15 and $10, depending on the location of the seats.

The Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) is a leading dance institution of unparalleled global acclaim. The organization boasts a touring professional ensemble, a community and pre-professional school for young dancers, and an arts-education program that serves the Harlem community and beyond. The Ensemble, which was formed in the summer of 2008 to carry the social and artistic legacy of Dance Theatre of Harlem to communities that had been previously deprived of the company due to geographic or financial obstacles, was conceived as an extension of DTH’s celebrated Dancing through the Barriers.  The Ensemble has a mission of education through the arts as well as artistic excellence consisting of 12 dancers, a ballet master/director, a concert grade pianist, a touring administrative and technical staff.  Since January 2009, the DTH Ensemble has toured in 43 cities and 24 states including the District of Columbia, while servicing a national community of dance lovers and DTH supporters. After June 2012, Dance Theatre of Harlem will concentrate exclusively on the rebirth of its 18-member Company.   

In 1969, Dancer Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook founded Dance Theatre of Harlem. Nurtured by the optimism and idealism of the Civil Rights Era, the school began with classes taught in a garage on 152nd Street in Harlem, the community in New York City in which Mitchell grew up. The school’s curriculum was designed to give the children of Harlem the same opportunities Mitchell had as a teenager. Dance Theatre of Harlem flourished and the nucleus of a professional company was born.

One of the benchmarks of the school became the “Open House Series,” which opens the doors of Dance Theatre of Harlem to showcase the activities of the Ensemble, students from the school as well as guest artists from all disciplines. These informal studio performances are a community concert series that continues today, offering quality entertainment at nominal ticket prices to families living in Harlem and the New York Metropolitan area.

In 1971, at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, Dance Theatre of Harlem Company made its debut. Later that year, George Balanchine invited Mitchell to co-choreograph Concerto for Jazz Band and Orchestra in an exciting collaboration between New York City Ballet and DTHE.  By 1979, the company had toured internationally, had three successful Broadway seasons, received critical acclaim for a public television “Great Performances – Dance in America” special, expanded its repertory to 46 ballets and formed a choral and percussion ensemble.

In the course of this lively decade, what begun as a modest performing company became a major force and established itself as something very unique and deeply needed on the scene of contemporary dance.

In the 1980’s, spectacular productions and rave reviews from the performances of “Firebird,” “Creole Giselle,” “Scheherazade,” “Bugaku,” “Agon,” and “Dougla,” carved a niche for the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company. The repertory is grounded in neoclassical technique, which enables DTH artists to dance all styles.

During the 1990’s, Dance Theatre of Harlem continued its mission to be an organization that is artistic, educational and socially aware. As in the beginning, Dance Theatre of Harlem continued to challenge widely held stereotypes, while bridging the gaps created by extreme cultural and economic disparity worldwide. DTH company historic tour to South Africa in 1992, known as the “Dancing through Barriers” tour, gave birth to the Dancing Through Barriers® program, wherein the company’s reputation as a traveling university was formally institutionalized.

At home or abroad, Dance Theatre of Harlem Company has been met with sold-out performances and accolades. After successfully returning to the UK in 2002 and 2004, Dance Theatre of Harlem celebrated its 35th Anniversary with an extensive U.S. tour, followed by performances in Greece prior to the opening of the 2004 summer Olympics.
In February 2009, Dance Theatre of Harlem celebrated its 40th Anniversary.  In 2009, Virginia Johnson was named Artistic Director with Arthur Mitchell becoming Artistic Director Emeritus.

For more information or for tickets, visit www.FAMU.edu/Lyceum.

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