Dance Theatre of Harlem performs in Tampa

April 18, 2013 

Dance Theatre of Harlem formed in 1969, when the idea of an African-American ballet company seemed incongruous, if not preposterous.

By the time DTH went on hiatus in 2004, the company seemed so essential to the world of dance that its absence seemed unthinkable.

Dance Theatre of Harlem went back on tour last year, and returned to the stage in New York last week after nine years of absence. As part of its program at the Lincoln Center, DTH introduced New York audiences to "Gloria," a 25-minute piece for 14 dancers set to music by Poulenc, created by the company's resident choreographer, Robert Garland.

Like much of Garland's work, it's classically based ballet but incorporates elements of modern dance vocabulary.

Other works on the program include George Balanchine's 1957 ballet "Agon," with music by Igor Stravinsky; the "Black Swan" pas de deux from "Swan Lake," with music by Tchaikovsky; and Garland's "Return," with music by James Brown and Aretha Franklin.

"Return," from 1999, is one of Garland's most well-known dances, and blends ballet with movements based on vernacular African-American dance, including hip-hop and disco.

Details: 4 p.m. April 21, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Tickets: $29.50 plus service charge and up. Information: 813-229-7827 or www.strazcenter.org.

-- Marty Clear

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