Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Exhibitions, News: Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts

February 10, 2009

Viewing videos on requires Adobe Flash Player 9 or higher.

Get the Flash plugin from


Copy the embed code below to add this video to your site, blog, or profile.

An exhibition at the Library for the Performing Arts, from February 11 to May 9, 2009, celebrated the history of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Writing about the dance company in 1969, Clive Barnes, dance critic for The New York Times, began his article, "Black is beautiful, classic ballet is beautiful, so why are the two so rarely found together?" That changed when Arthur Mitchell, accomplished artistic director, astute educator, talented choreographer and extraordinary dancer, co-founded Dance Theatre of Harlem with his mentor, the renowned ballet teacher, the late Karel Shook. Inspired by the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mitchell wanted to make a difference; by doing what he knew best, which was the focus and discipline of dance, he brought the art form of ballet to Harlem.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Dance Theatre of Harlem are proud to collaborate on a multi-media exhibition that brings these 40 years of art and accomplishment to Lincoln Center and then to museums and performance centers across the country.