7/31/20 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Leo Holder discusses Dougla- Bonus 1977 DTH Performance of Dougla

Leo Holder, son of the choreographer Geoffrey Holder, and Dance Theatre of Harlem Artistic Director Virginia Johnson discuss the origins of Dougla. This is followed by a special presentation of Dougla from a 1977 PBS Broadcast.

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7/28/20 O&A NYC INSPIRATIONAL TUESDAY: Dougla

The 2018 return of Geoffrey Holder’s masterwork Dougla to the repertoire Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) was a resounding success. The work is a sensorially sumptuous movement fest; and it is no wonder Dougla has remained an audience favorite since its premiere on April 16, 1974. 

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6/12/20 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Creole Giselle (DTH On Demand)

When the ballet Giselle was created in 1841, it was not imagined to be performed by men and women of color, Black men and women. In 1984, Dance Theatre of Harlem Co-Founder Arthur Mitchell changed that. The acclaimed DTH production of this classic, Creole Giselle, was re-conceived by Arthur Mitchell and staged by Frederic Franklin, based on the original by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot

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4/11/20 O&A NYC SATURDAY MORNING CONCERT: Louis Johnson’s Forces of Rhythm (Excerpts) Dance Theatre Of Harlem


Dance Theatre of Harlem mourns the loss of the great Louis Johnson. His ballet, Forces of Rhythm choreographed in 1971, became a signature piece for the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company, finding its place alongside the works of George Balanchine, Arthur Mitchell, Geoffrey Holder, and other choreographers for the fledging ballet company. Continue reading

4/10/20 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Dance Theatre of Harlem- Creole Giselle

Arthur Mitchell’s Creole Giselle performed by the Dance Theatre Of Harlem (DTH), and set the traditional story of Giselle in 1841 Louisiana broke barriers with this all African American adaptation.  Continue reading

4/8/20 O&A NYC MAGAZINE: Remembering Louis Johnson

By Walter Rutledge

Louis Johnson’s passing marks the end of an era in Black dance. Johnson was the last of the of his generation of 20th century American choreographers of African descent and International renowned. His contemporaries, Alvin Ailey, Talley Beatty, Geoffrey Holder, Donald McKayle, and Arthur Mitchell, all forged through the restrictive Jim Crow era of hatred and segregation; that unfortunately included the arts- and dance. Continue reading

3/31/20 O&A NYC IN MEMORIUM: Dancer, Choreographer Louis Johnson Died at 90

By Walter Rutledge

Dancer, choreographer and director Louis Johnson passed away he was 90 years old. Born March 19, 1930 in Statesville, North Carolina Johnson’s parents moved to Washington D.C. and he became a standout in the D.C. school system for his artistic and gymnastic abilities. While in high school Johnson enrolled and trained at the Jones Haywood School of Dance, where he blossomed under the tutelage of Doris Jones and Clair Haywood.

Johnson moved to New York City and continued his dance training at the famed New York City School of American Ballet, where he was mentored by Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine. Johnson performed on Broadway in Four Saint in Three Acts, House of Flowers (George Balanchine choreographer) Damn Yankees (Bob Fosse) and Hallelujah Baby. The success of one of his early choreographic works Lament for the New York City Ballet Club led to offers to choreograph the Broadway production of Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity. This lead to additional theatrical productions including Lost In The Stars, Treemonisha and Purlie, which garnered Johnson a Tony Award nomination.

Johnson choregraphed La Giaconda (starring Martina La Rowe) and Aida (starring Leontyne Price) for the New York Metropolitan Opera. Johnson also choreographed two motion pictures the 1970 Cotton Come To Harlem and The Wiz starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Johnson never lost his love for concert dance choreographing for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Joffrey Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Philadanco and the Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theater. In 1980 Johnson started the dance department at the Henry Street Settlement (New York City), where he remained until 2003. He also taught the first Black theater course at Yale University and stated dance department at Howard University (D.C.). His directorial credits include Porgy and Bess, Miss Truth and Jazzbo Brown.

2/7/20 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY- BLACK HISTORY MONTH EDITION: Excerpt of Banda with Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder (1957)

Shall We Dance

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Geoffrey Holder’s Banda dance debuted in the 1954 Truman Capote/Harold Arlen musical House Of Flowers. Holder the Baron of The Cemetery (based on the Haitian Loa of Death Baron Samedi) received both a performer and choreographer credit in the program. The Broadway musical takes place somewhere in the West Indies during Mardi Gras weekend. Continue reading

4/12/19 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Alicia Graf and Donald Willams Perform Return (Dance Theatre of Harlem)

Dance Theatre of Harlem former principal dancers Alicia Graf and Donald Williams perform Robert Garland’s Return Continue reading

4/9/19 O&A NYC DANCE: Christopher Charles McDaniel- A True “DTH Baby”

By Walter Rutledge

Christopher Charles McDaniel is a true “DTH Baby”. When the East Harlem native attended a Dance Theatre of Harlem lecture demonstration at his school the outgoing eight year old was instantly smitten. He was so enamored by the company and its charismatic director Arthur Mitchell that McDaniel decided he wanted to dance, and he wanted to dance at Dance Theatre of Harlem.   Continue reading