Dance Theatre of Harlem Made a Powerful Promotional Video Combining Ballet and Activism

You don't need to convince us that dance can be a powerful vehicle for change. But in case you had any doubts, Dance Theatre of Harlem's new promotional video is all the proof you need. As part of their 2018 New York season, DTH will be hosting a gala on April 4 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (this inspired the founding of the company by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook less than a year after his death).


Channeling the impact that Dr. King's death had on Mitchell, DTH put together this moving video, directed by Daniel Schloss, choreographed by company member Da' Von Doane and starring some familiar (and new!) faces. The video begins with a group of young dancers, who gather around a TV to hear former president Lyndon B. Johnson announcing Dr. King's assassination on April 4, 1968.

As Billy Porter's "Keep Moving" begins to play, the kids use dance as an outlet while other historical moments mixed with clips from DTH's early days flash across the TV. Eventually the kids are joined by the current DTH company members for a full-on dance session as the TV in the studio zooms in on former First Lady Michelle Obama saying: "Through dance, they have told the stories of who we were, who we are and who we can be." If this is just their promotional video, we can't wait to see what DTH has coming our way once it's performance time.

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Kaja Irwin, Sabrina Comanescu, Natasha Korney of Decidely Jazz Danceworks in Calgary. Vibecke Dahle, courtesy Dance on Camera Festival

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