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December 01, 2016

DANCECleveland and Cuyahoga Community College Co-Present the Legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem at Playhouse Square January 21

"One thing that Dance Theater of Harlem seems to understand is how to please its public." -Brian Seibert, The New York Times

DANCECleveland and Cuyahoga Community College Co-Present the Legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem at Playhouse Square January 21

Performing a matinee and evening of mixed repertoire, Dance Theatre of Harlem will inspire audiences of all ages

CLEVELAND (December 1, 2016) Known for its thrilling performances that successfully challenge preconceived notions, the historically remarkable Dance Theatre of Harlem will perform one day only at Playhouse Square's restored Ohio Theatre for a 3pm matinee and 7:30 pm evening performance on January 21, 2017. The multi-cultural company will perform a variety of mixed repertoire with music ranging from classical to spiritual and Motown.

Tickets, starting at $25, are available at or by calling Playhouse Square at 216-241-6000. Groups of five or more can call DANCECleveland at 216-991-9000 for more information about discounted group tickets.

Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook in response to the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dance Theatre of Harlem was considered "one of ballet's most exciting undertakings" (The New York Times, 1971). Now in its fourth decade, Dance Theatre of Harlem has grown into a multi-cultural dance company that has achieved unprecedented success, bringing innovative and bold new forms of artistic expression to audiences in New York City, across the country and around the world. Now under the leadership of Artistic Director Virginia Johnson, former Prima Ballerina, and Executive Director Laveen Naidu, Dance Theatre of Harlem has developed into a company that exudes excitement, empowerment and beauty though the medium of contemporary ballet.

The January performances in Cleveland will feature a range of repertoire that can be enjoyed by audience members of all ages. Both the matinee and evening performances will include three works including a work choreographed by Cleveland native and esteemed modern dance choreographer, Dianne McIntyre titled "Change". The trio, featuring an all-female cast tells the history of African American women through music and movement. Set to a recorded score that includes songs performed by the Spelman College Glee Club and original music by the percussionist Eli Fountain, the piece embodies the different changes that African American Women have experienced in history and the strength that they carry throughout them. This piece is the first piece that McIntyre has choreographed for dancers on pointe.

"When the women were learning the choreography, I had them learn the history behind it as well. They researched different historical women such as Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. The dancers were learning more than the steps, they were exploring the history behind their roots as well"; says McIntyre.

The second piece on the program, "System" choreographed by Francesca Harper, uses classical ballet vocabulary to make a contemporary statement that is inspired by current social justice issues in America, in particular as they relate to the black community, and was built in collaboration with the dancers using their own experiences, as people of color. The piece, set to John Adams' String Quartet explores race, gender and economics through the medium of movement. The dancers first started rehearsing the powerful work in 2014 amid the shootings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown and used the feelings as inspiration behind the work.

Both performances will also finish with "Return", a fun contemporary ballet set to songs of Aretha Franklin and James Brown. Blending of the elegance of classical ballet and the gritty drive of soul music, pushes the boundaries of ballet technique and form, incorporating and blending vernacular movement from the African American experience. From Pas de Bouree to the Cabbage Patch, Ballone to the bump, the ballet fulfills Dance Theatre of Harlem's idea of what it means to be "Classically American".

The performance will be surrounded by an array our educational activities for dancers and non-dancers alike including dance master classes on Friday Jan 20 at Cleveland State Univerity's Middough Building. More information and RSVP is required by emailing There will be a pre-performance chat at 6:45 pm and post-performance Q&A with the dancers on stage, designed to provide an opportunity for audience members to learn more about the visiting company.

For more information on Dance Theatre of Harlem, visit:


DANCECleveland, a Cleveland, Ohio based non-profit, is one of a handful of presenters in the nation that is dedicated solely to the presentation of modern and contemporary dance. The centerpiece of the organization's programming is its annual performance series. The performances are surrounded by an array of educational outreach events including artist-run master classes, residency programs, student matinees, pre-performance lectures and post-performance Q&A sessions, designed both to break artistic boundaries and provide community access to the dance aesthetic and dance luminaries that DANCECleveland brings to OH.

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This engagement is generously supported by:

This presentation is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Ohio Arts Council and the Crane Group.

The presentation of Dance Theatre of Harlem was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

DANCECleveland also thanks their generous season funders:

The Char & Chuck Fowler Family Foundation The George Gund Foundation George W. Codrington Foundation



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