Students Journey Through the Art and Science of Ballet

Dance Theatre of Harlem visits Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts


Students at Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts were treated to a visually stunning, classical masterpiece on Thursday, Feb. 8 – a dance workshop from the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH).

A combination of a basic ballet lesson and a performance, DTH’s Ballet Master Keith Saunders brought students along a journey back in time to the beginning of ballet, sharing the rudiments of the classical style. Along the way, Saunders explained in detail the building-block training process that allows dancers to achieve excellence in the art of ballet. During Saunder’s story, dancers stood at the iconic barre demonstrating pliés, tendu and more, slowly building from basic steps into a small performance.

After the instruction portion, dancers then showcased snippets of contemporary and classical ballets including Darrell Grand Moultrie’s contemporary ballets “Vessels” and “Jazzin.” A set of four dancers then took time away from the performances to answer student questions. The performance concluded with an all-troupe rendition of “Return,” a ballet from Robert Garland set to music by James Brown and Aretha Franklin.

DTH will perform at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, Feb. 9. The lecture and demonstration is a part of DTH’s community outreach program education event, presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series, to share the love of dance with school-age students as they tour around the country.

About Dance Theatre of Harlem

In 1955, Arthur Mitchell was selected to join the New York City Ballet, the first African-American ballet dancer to join the historic company. This historic occurrence in pre-civil rights America set the stage for many firsts by Mitchell, which changed the face and future of dance forever.

Founded shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to inspire children with dance, Mitchell started teaching dance classes in a garage in the heart of Harlem to give the community’s children the same opportunities he had as a teenager. Over the years, the Dance Theatre of Harlem has evolved into an outstanding institution, providing world-class training in classical ballet and other diverse dance disciplines.

Visit our Flickr page for more photos.