The Dance Theatre of Harlem presents its annual Summer Street Festival this Saturday, Aug. 9, from noon to 7 p.m. Professional dancers and students will be showcased as vendors offer food, books, jewelry and clothes to all in attendance; with everything taking place on West 152nd St. between Amsterdam and St. Nicholas Avenues.
The organization has remained a committed fixture for the community of Harlem and holds the festival every year to encourage the community to take part in the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s initiatives to bring art and culture to one of the richest and most artistically-storied neighborhoods in New York City. The festival has become a mainstay, offering free live performances and information about the Dance Theatre to encourage new students, supporters and anyone who wants to volunteer.
Alongside performances by Dance Theatre of Harlem School Summer Intensive students and special guest artists, this year’s festival will also feature a special appearance by the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company itself.
Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook, The Dance Theatre of Harlem is a storied dance institution with education and community outreach programs as well as a school that trains young people in classical ballet and the allied arts. It showcases The Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble as its performing troupe.
Mitchell, the first African American to become a permanent member of the New York City Ballet, wanted to offer an artistic outlet for children in Harlem to study the art of dance. After breaking ground in his own career, he sought to provide opportunities for those like himself to follow his path.