A dynamic and vibrant production is promised when the renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem appears at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21.
The pioneering African American company, founded in by 1969, will perform neo-classical and contemporary ballet that will entertain both enthusiasts and non-followers of the art form, according to Artistic Director Virginia Johnson.
“The Dance Theatre of Harlem is a classical ballet company that’s showing what ballet can be in the 21st century. We are a diverse, multi-ethnic, multicultural company that dances on point and really has an important message to say about what this art form can be now,” Johnson said.
Highlighting the program will be works by African American renowned choreographers Robert Garland, Ulysses Dove and Darrell Grand Moultrie who created “Brahms Variations,” “Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven,” and “Vessels,” respectively.
“Their works are astonishing in their ability to communicate something powerful to an audience,” insisted Johnson.
The description of the three ballets explains that Garland’s “Brahms Variations” was inspired by “Louis XIV, French patron of the arts, and grandfather of the ballet canon” and the work envisions “Louis the XIV’s court meeting Harlem Swag.”
Dove’s piece, subtitled “Odes to Love and Loss,” was developed during a difficult period in his life when he lost his father along with 12 relatives and close friends. “I want to tell an experience in movement, a story without words, and create a poetic monument over people I loved,” said Dove.
As for Darrell Grand Moultrie’s “Vessels,” the ballet is defined as “a dynamic tour de force that draws on the energy and artistry of a new generation of Dance Theatre of Harlem artists.”
Johnson, who believes the breadth and depth of the program will entertain and educate the audience about ballet, noted, “Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded almost 50 years ago (by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook) to show that African Americans do belong in his art form. People are going to see something they’ve never seen before and it’s going to be exciting for them!”
The show runs approximately 105 minutes with two intermissions. Tickets are available at thebroadstage.org or by calling (310) 434-3200.