Dance lessons from Harlem ballet

Anna Osipova

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Dance Theater of Harlem will be performing at the Plaza del Sol Theater Feb.2. Photo courtesy of Therri Donnelly, Community Outreach Liaison.

Dance Theater of Harlem, as part of their national Access Initiative Tour, will be coming to CSUN Feb. 2 for what they call an Interactive Performance, or a demonstration.

The demonstration will consist of an instructor, or a dance captain, who will interact with the audience, said Kathy Anthony, the managing director for the Plaza Del Sol Performance Hall.

The captain will explain various techniques, such as pirouettes, which are 180 degree turns on one leg, and demi-pliés, where the dancers bend their knees without moving the feet. The dancers then demonstrate those techniques.

They will also be performing some pieces, which will be explained both in terms of history and technique.

The ensemble, comprised of 14 young dancers who have been trained by the Dance Theater of Harlem, will perform two shows at the Plaza Del Sol Performance Hall. The first show will be at 11 a.m. That performance is intended for elementary, junior and high school students, but has already been fully booked, according to Anthony.

The evening show, which starts at 8 p.m., is open to everybody.

Tickets are available online through Ticketmaster and at the on campus Ticketmaster box office for $45. Tickets are also available to students at a discounted rate of $20. If purchasing tickets online, additional fees will apply.

“It’s an incredible opportunity,” said Anthony.

Dance Theater of Harlem was founded by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook in 1969, shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Mitchell wanted to create a school that would give children in his community, Harlem, an opportunity to study dance.

Mitchell, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet for 10 years, was the only African-American in the company at the time.

One of their most renowned pieces is the “Creole Giselle”, first performed in 1984, which transplanted the storyline of “Giselle” from 19th century Austria to Louisiana in the late 18th century.

The school has recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, which marked the beginning of this tour. The ensemble has mostly been performing in small theatres and on campuses throughout the states.

For more information about this show or other shows at the Plaza del Sol, visit www.artsnorthridge.csun.com/EVENTSDanceHarlem.html