Written by Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem, Virginia Johnson
Ballet is about ideals. When I got the opportunity to restart the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s professional touring company, my first thought was that we could make a company for today. I don’t want the ballet dancers in this company to close themselves away from the time they live in merely to conform to an antique ideal.
At Dance Theatre of Harlem my goal is to create a space where dancers think, use dance to express and define themselves and where uniqueness is celebrated. Ballet is now. Its glorious history is important but not more so than the notion that we, as dance artists have the responsibility to be ideal-makers for this time.
It is hard work—and there are stumbles along the way, but I believe this art form can be a touchstone for our time just as it has been at key moments in the past. When I see the way that the dancers at DTH have resonated with the challenge that Francesca Harper set for them in System—to be thoughtful, active participants in this changing world — I see the future coming our way.