The Dance Theatre of Harlem is set to return to Detroit, gracing the Detroit Opera House stage Oct. 21-22 for the third stop of the dance troupe’s much-anticipated 2023-2024 tour. Detroit Opera House was the stage for their last visit in 2022, where they presented Claudia Schreier’s “Passage,” a poignant work commissioned to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans in North America.
Additionally, they enthralled audiences with “Higher Ground,” a ballet set to the soulful melodies of Stevie Wonder, showcasing the theatre’s ability to seamlessly blend tradition and modernity.
The theatre’s connection to Detroit spans farther than previous years’ performances, however. The Dance Theatre of Harlem, founded by the first African American principal dancer of the New York City Ballet, Arthur Mitchell, has been captivating audiences worldwide with its innovative blend of classical and contemporary ballet.
Robert Garland, the current artistic director and resident choreographer, continues this legacy by choreographing ballets that pay tribute to the rich musical heritage of Detroit, featuring the sounds of Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Motown music.
In an exclusive conversation with “American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson, Garland shared insights into the troupe’s upcoming performances, the company’s illustrious history, and how the pandemic has influenced the current and future landscape of dance.
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Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.