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Dance Theatre of Harlem July 19

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Jul. 16 | Modified: Jul. 20
Dance Theatre of Harlem July 19

Dance Theatre of Harlem will perform July 19 at ASU’s Schaefer Center, as part of An Appalachian Summer Festival.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Prepare yourself for a truly moving repertoire this summer.

The powerful onstage styling of the Dance Theatre of Harlem will make its High Country debut at An Appalachian Summer Festival at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 19, at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts.

The expressive dance group was founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook and faced unique circumstances due to racial barriers of the time, according to a news release.

“The Dance Theatre of Harlem has a rich history,” said Megan Stage, the festival’s marketing and public relations manager. “It began as an all African American ballet company, because at the time, African American dancers were barred from U.S. ballet companies. Through the years, it has grown and established itself as a unique entity in the ballet world … combining traditional ballet roots with a modern style.”

The company is now under the leadership of artistic director Virginia Johnson and former prima ballerina and executive director Laveen Naidu. The renewed company offers a range of education, community engagement and audience development activities, according to
This summer’s repertoire includes “Lark Ascending,” “Black Swan,” “past-carry-forward” and “Return.”

This summer’s performance at ASU is a number of firsts for the theater.

“They have not traveled this far south before, so this is a definite treat to see them live in our own backyard,” Stage said. “They will be performing excerpts from classical pieces, such as ‘Swan Lake,’ but then will showcase some of their original material, as well. The company will challenge your preconceived notions of ballet and open up your minds of the creative possibilities of dance.”

The performance will have a little bit of something for everyone and could open the audience’s taste to a wider range of expressive movement, Stage said.

“I love dance, and I love when a dance company has a specific creative identity,” she said. “This dance company in particular is exciting to me because I have never had the pleasure of seeing them before. I’ve watched a lot of their performances online, and I really believe we are in for a treat.”

Tickets cost $28 for general admission and $26 for students and children ages 3 and older. For tickets and more information, visit, or call the Schaefer Center box office at (800) 841-2787.

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