The School of Dance Theatre of Harlem

The School of Dance Theatre of Harlem
The School of Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) began in 1969, ignited by Arthur Mitchell – who revolutionized the dance world as the first African American principal dancer in the New York City Ballet – and the late Karel Shook – the revered teacher and dancer. From its humble beginnings, the School of DTH has emerged as a world famous dance training institution and an active arts education center, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance. The School of DTH is also listed as an institution of higher education by the United Stated Department of Education.

Housed in a former auto garage on 152nd street in Harlem, the School underwent an award winning $7.5 million dollar renovation and expansion in 1992. The expanded headquarters now feature four dance studios, classrooms, a physical therapy room, a new library/archive, a sewing room, a parent/visitor lounge, and a second floor terrace.

The School of Dance Theatre of Harlem is a cultural, social and educational institution committed to providing young people of diverse backgrounds with an opportunity to receive training in classical ballet and the allied arts. “The Dance Theatre of Harlem Company has performed in the cultural capitals of the world but our home base and our roots remain in the School in Harlem”, commented Arthur Mitchell. “It’s where we always return and where so many dreams blossom and become reality.”

The School’s faculty are among the most esteemed professionals in the field of arts and education, and include specialist in children’s movement, classical European ballet, choreography and musicology. Many have had distinguished performing careers, with companies as divers as The Royal Ballet in London, the Martha Graham Dance Company, the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, the Kirov Ballet, Laura Dern Dancers & Musicians, and the White Cloud Dance Company of Taipei.

The Community Program offers classes on Saturdays to young people between the ages of 3 and 17. Classes are open to anyone who is interested in studying dance as an extracurricular activity, and provide instruction on fundamentals and basic technique. All students are given the opportunity to present their work in front of an audience during open school week, upon completion of each semester.

The Pre-Professional Program offers daily after-school ballet and tap training for students between the ages of 7 and 17, who are selected on the basis of ability and talent. A system promoting physical education with self-expression lays the ground work for those aspiring to enter the Professional Training Program or pursue a professional dance career, and foster individuality, discipline, and high self-esteem.

The Professional Training Program is a certificate program, to be completed in a minimum of 3 years, designed for students who plan to pursue a professional career in dance. Students must have prior training and a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent. Admission is by audition only, and full-time commitment is required.

The Summer Intensive Session is a 6-8 week intensive course for students interested in studying ballet. Children aged 3-8 meet for two classes weekly. Students aged 8-24 follow comprehensive course of study that includes daily ballet techniques at levels previously described. According to proficiency, student take additional classes in tap, pas de deux, pointe/men’s work, Pilates® Method, and jazz. Special workshops are offered on various topics such as nutrition and injury prevention.

On the second Sunday of each month (November through May), the School holds its acclaimed Open House. The series provides the New York Community with an afternoon of diverse entertainment featuring the DTH School Ensemble, and special guest artists and events ranging from magicians to string quartets to comedians.

The success of The School of Dance Theatre of Harlem is perhaps best judged not by the professional dancers it has developed, but rather by the thousands of alumni who credit the institution for instilling values which have nurtured their lives: discipline, commitment, self-esteem and inner strength — all invaluable asset for any path that is chosen in life.