Our budding ballerinas have had a difficult time finding good dance studios that train them on a level that is akin to the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre. But, we have happy news that help is on the way!
The Dance Theatre of Harlem is back after a rough and tumble few years. But according to the Artistic Director, Virginia Johnson, who has been with Dance Theater for 28 years, they are back! Today, DTOH will be performing at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center, according to Clutch magazine.
Johnson talked about the lack of dance companies that are out there and working to cultivate the up and coming African American dancer.
“We still don’t see enough dancers of color in companies across the country,” Ms. Johnson said. “But I’m not lying when I say that people call me all the time saying, ‘I need dancers of color.’ It’s a deeper problem. It goes back further in time that we’re not training dancers of color, so our schools need to be more embracing, more welcoming, more aggressive.”
If you’ve ever had the privilege of seeing a performance by the DTOH, you know that the form, culture, and intimate performance they give is truly a mesmerizing experience that used to cause a pilgrimage to New York for their opening performances annually.
Johnson quite eloquently, but also diplomatically, addressed the many black ballerinas that are overlooked by companies like the School of American Ballet.
“Schools want to turn out the very best dancers, so they only go for people they think already fit inside the mold instead of thinking, ‘Let’s train people and see who rises to the top.’ I don’t ever mean lowering your standards. Standards are what ballet’s about. It’s opening the entry points to a broader pool of people and helping them take the next steps.”
Read more here on the dedication and commitment that is bringing DTOH back to us.