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Grace, Poise and Ballet: Students Dance on the Streets of NYC to Celebrate Harlem Festival

The Harlem company members performed on the plaza of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building.  (Credit: twitter)

The Harlem company members performed on the plaza of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building. (Credit: twitter)

A video shared on Twitter shows the Dance Theatre of Harlem company members performing on the plaza of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building during the 46th annual Harlem Week festival.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced artists to explore innovative ways of expressing their art as the usual ways of performance face disruption in order to maintain social distancing rules. And the Dance Theatre of Harlem has come up with one such way.

A video shared on Twitter shows the Dance Theatre of Harlem company members performing on the plaza of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building during the 46th annual Harlem Week festival. The video was shared by Senior Advisor to Democrat Presidential nominee Joe Biden, Karine Jean Pierre on Twitter.

Captioning the video, Pierre said, “Stunning — students from the Dance Theatre of Harlem dancing in New York City.” The video has received 7.4 million views on the microblogging site and is being praised by netizens for its grace and beauty. As one user commented, “So graceful & beautiful!”

“There are no words for how impressive that is”, said another user.

Viewer also praised the impeccable synchronization among the professional dancers, “What a stunning video to view first thing in the morning. The grace, poise and not to mention outfit coordination!”

The graceful dancers, who are wearing masks, can be seen performing ballet in the picturesque New York City as part of the Harlem Week Festival. From 145th and St. Nicholas Subway Station, City College of New York with its Neo-Gothic stage for four ballerinas to the Hudson River with George Washington Bridge, the city provides various backdrops to the eight ballet dancers.

Even though the event is taking place online, the Dance Theatre’s performance has completely brightened up the day for their audience.

Wearing bright casual outfits, the dance theatre serves as a reminder of how company founder Arthur Mitchell, who was New York City Ballet’s first black principal dancer, relaxed the dress code to accommodate young men who would not wish to wear traditional tights worn by Ballet dancers.

The Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969 when the United States was undergoing a fierce civil rights movement. It was founded by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook who believed that during extreme injustice and frustration, the most impactful art is born.


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