#GivingTuesday: Dance Theatre of Harlem
Goodbye, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Hello, Giving Tuesday! We’ve been so looking forward to you for the past couple of months.
#GivingTuesday is the day we start off the holiday season by celebrating giving – a day when families, charities, businesses, community centers, students, retailers and more can come together to encourage giving during the holiday season.
Research shows that 83 percent of Americans say they would prefer to receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else instead of a traditional gift like clothing or electronics. I love that. So, as you’re thinking about the giving season, please keep this in mind.
As I mentioned, I am turning my attention to highlighting NY-based institutions. Last week, it was the New Victory Theater and today, it’s Dance Theatre of Harlem. Even though I never became a professional dancer, the free high-quality ballet education that I received as a child and teenager played a critical role in shaping my life. Today, I continue to dedicate my time and energy to ballet, specifically Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) as a member of its Board of Directors.
DTH was founded in 1969 in a garage by Arthur Mitchell, the first African-American principal dancer with New York City Ballet. Inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, the mission of the DTH school was to give the children of Harlem the same opportunity that Mitchell had had as a teenager. The professional ballet company went on to become a leading and critically-acclaimed American ballet company.
Over the past 43 years, more than one million dancers, children and audience members have experienced Dance Theatre of Harlem programs across the US and the world. This is important because every day DTH demonstrates that dancers of color can not only perform ballet, but do so at the highest level.
Ballet is a very expensive education. They say it takes 10 years to train a dancer. When I was in school, I took three dance classes per day and two on the weekend, that’s 17 per week. Pointe shoes cost about $75 per pair. I was lucky if I could go a week without needing another pair. A pair usually lasts a professional ballerina one– maybe two –performances. In short, the cost of a ballet education alone is a huge barrier to entry, forget about access and time.
As you think about supporting the arts and arts education, please consider Dance Theatre of Harlem. There are many ways you can give and show support:
Learn more about DTH’s community outreach is a critical part of its mission:
The young girl at 3:07 slays me.
Photo credits: top (Judy Tyrus), second (Jack Vartoogian), third (Jeremy Harrous)