Harlem ballet company to perform in Wilmington

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The Dance Theatre of Harlem, the nation's first black ballet company, will come to Wilmington in honor of Black History Month.
The Dance Theatre of Harlem, the nation’s first black ballet company, will come to Wilmington in honor of Black History Month.

The nation’s first black classical ballet company is coming to Wilmington.

In celebration of Black History Month–and the 50th anniversary of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965–Countywide Community Development Corporation (CDC) presents the Dance Theatre of Harlem at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8 at UNC-Wilmington’s Kenan Auditorium. “A Celebration of American Creativity and Honoring the Legacies of Innovative Visionary Leadership” is the title of the troupe’s local performance.

Housed in the Leland area, the CDC is a nonprofit comprised of representatives from New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Bladen and Columbus counties. It’s dedicated to addressing socioeconomic issues. The organization’s ongoing Celebrating the Dream initiative was responsible for bring Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker to the Port City in 2014.

Dance Theatre of Harlem is an American professional ballet company and school based in Harlem, New York City. It was founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell, who was the first black principal dancer in the New York City Ballet. It “promotes empowerment through the arts and includes community engagement through educational activities for audiences,” according to a news release from the CDC.

The Harlem company will bring 14 dancers to the area to perform an eclectic drama to honor black leaders and the institution of the arts. The performance is aimed at capturing the “artistic cultural expression of the influences of the African American culture and the resilience and impenetrable unity of a people that changed the nation and inspired the world,” organizers said.

Sept. 29, 2015 marked 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, which created the National Endowment for the Humanities.

As part of its outreach, the CDC’s Humanities and Fine Arts Committee has invited ninth-grade art students throughout the organization’s five-county reach to participate in a performance or workshop with the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Tickets are $35-$55, and VIP sponsorship seating is available for $100. Click here for tickets or visit the UNCW Kenan Auditorium Box Office’s website.

For information, call the Countywide CDC office, (910) 619-6295.