DTH Biography

Inspired by a dream

Dance Theatre of Harlem is a leading dance institution of unparalleled global acclaim, encompassing a "Classically American® dance company, a leading arts education center and Dancing Through Barriers®, a national and international education and community outreach program.

Each component of Dance Theatre of Harlem carries a solid commitment towards enriching the lives of young people and adults around the world through the arts.

Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook, Dance Theatre of Harlem was considered “one of ballet’s most exciting undertakings” (The New York Times, 1971). Shortly after the assassination of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mitchell was inspired to start a school that would offer children — especially those in Harlem, the community in which he was born — the opportunity to learn about dance and the allied arts. Now in its fourth decade, Dance Theatre of Harlem has grown into a multi- cultural dance institution with an extraordinary legacy of providing opportunities for creative expression and artistic excellence that continues to set standards in the performing arts.