The Dance Theater of Harlem shines at the Vineyard Arts Project

Dancers performing Ulysses Dove's "Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven." — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Dance Theater of Harlem was in residence at the Vineyard Arts Project in Edgartown for the past two weeks, creating a new work that they performed excerpts from in sold-out shows on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings.

According to the Dance Theater of Harlem’s website, the historic company was formed in 1969 after the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Co-founder Arthur Mitchell “was inspired to start a school that would offer children — especially those in Harlem, the community in which he was born — the opportunity to learn about dance and the allied arts.” The company has since evolved into a worldwide success as a performing ensemble and educational program. It is now under the direction of Virginia Johnson and comprised of artists from across the country.

Last weekend’s performance included excerpts from Thaddeus Davis and Tanya Wideman-Davis’s new ballet, “past-carry-forward,” created entirely during the company’s residency at Vineyard Arts Project, as well as a demonstration of the “the nine points” technique, which required audience participation. An excerpt from Robert Garland’s ballet “Return,” set to James Brown’s “Mother Popcorn,” concluded the evening.

Ashley Melone, residency director at the Vineyard Arts Project, said the performances “brought the house down every night. The energy as the audience left was inspiring and contagious.”

For more information about Vineyard Arts Project.