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‘Dancing Through Harlem:’ A Conversation With The Dancers Behind The Video

Members of the Dance Theatre of Harlem perform onstage at the Apollo Theater in New York City.
Members of the Dance Theatre of Harlem perform onstage at the Apollo Theater in New York City.

With theaters and venues remaining largely closed, the coronavirus pandemic has devastated the performing arts and live events industry. It’s forced some venues to close permanently, while others struggle to make ends meet. Some have turned to virtual performances or legislation that would support their businesses. And dance companies are no different.

But in Harlem, Black ballet dancers have taken to the streets of New York to showcase a performance that has captivated viewers from home. It’s a show of artistry that has showcased the resilience of the performing arts amidst the pandemic. Of the video, The New York Times wrote “dance has never looked more alive.”

Still, gatekeepers have long kept ballet mostly rich and white. From making brown pointe shoes accessible to issues of hiring and investing in more dancers of color, some in the performing arts say it’s time for racial equity.

We talk with some of Dance Theater of Harlem’s dancers about their careers and what they think needs to change in the industry.

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