NEW YORK - The Dance Theatre of Harlem will continue its monthly Open House Series on Sunday, February 13.Now called Sunday Matinées, the performance will take place at at the EverettCenter for the Performing Arts.
To celebrate its 42nd anniversary this Sunday Matinee will showcase every facet of the institution; honoring past professional members, to the current Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble and those who have supported DTH for the past 42 years. The Matinee will honor Councilman Robert Jackson of Manhattan’s 7th District and will be co-hosted by DTH alumns, actress, dancer and Entrepreneur Valencia Yearwood and dancer, choreographer and Broadway dance artist Keith Thomas.Featured performances will include presentations by actress, dancer, singer Dionne Figgins and the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble in Adagietto.In addition, The DTH Professional Training Program will perform a premiere duet entitled, Devil Dance. The program will be followed by a reception with the artists where refreshment will be served.
Valencia Yearwood is an actress, voice-over artist, print model, singer, dancer, director and producer. She has appeared on Broadway in various shows, including The Lion King. She also appears in various national and regional commercials, including FedEx, Verizon, NY Lottery, BJ’s Warehouse, Foxwoods, Goodwrench, Publix, Progressive Insurance, and Philip Morris.
Keith Thomas is a product of the Baltimore Arts Expansion program and a graduate of the BaltimoreSchool for the Arts Dance Department under the direction of internationally acclaimed artist Sylvester Campbell. After leaving the Dance Theater of Harlem, Thomas embarked on a remarkable Broadway career. Mr. Thomas appeared in such shows as Sophisticated Ladies with Mercer Ellington, Freda Payne, Barbara McNair and Carmen Lundy; My Fair Lady with Joanne Worley; Black and Blue with Linda Hopkins and Ruth Brown; Jelly’s Last Jam with Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, Ben Vereen and George C. Wolfe; The Red Shoes with Stanley Donnen; Swing with Jerry Zacks and Lynn Taylor Corbett; Ragtime with Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald and Graziella Dannielle; and The Producers with Nathan Lane and Mathew Broderick. He recently relocated to Baltimore to share his experiences with students in an effort to give back to his home community. Mr. Thomas recently received a Living Legend Award from the Muse 360 Organization for his contribution to the world of dance.
Dionne Figgins’ successful career has been 24 years in the making, beginning with her first ballet class at the University of Tennessee. Her formal dance training began as a student of Doris Jones at the prestigious Jones-Haywood School of Ballet in Washington, D.C. She excelled in dance early on and was offered scholarships to Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York City, and Rosella Hightower’s Ecole de Danse in Cannes, France. Within 2 years, Ms. Figgins was offered a position in the Dancing Through Barriers program at Dance Theatre of Harlem. She was promoted to the company shortly after and began performing demi-soloist roles immediately.Ms. Figgins joined the cast of the Broadway-bound musical Ray Charles Live!, directed by Sheldon Epps, at the Pasadena Playhouse in Fall 2008.She then went to perform in Memphis at the La Jolla Playhouse and 5th Avenue, and Smokey Joe's Cafe at the El Portal Theater. Her performance in Smokey Joe's Cafe earned her a 2009 Ovation Nomination for Featured Actress in a Musical. Dionne Figgins recently returned to New York to perform in Memphis on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre.
Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, a 16 member company comprised of younger dancers trained in the DTH style is currently performing on its 2010 national tour.The Ensemble presents a unique artistic/educational performance package together with Master Classes and other educational services to audiences that would otherwise be excluded because of economic and geographical circumstances. The goal of the project is to expand greater audience awareness and involvement in classical ballet. The production is notable for its audience interaction; live music and educational, artistic, and inspirational content.
About the Sunday Matinée
Since its inception, Dance Theatre of Harlem has welcomed neighbors near and far to high-quality Open House performances.These performances included presentations by students from their school, the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble and special guest artists.Now called Sunday Matinées, the performances will take place at on the second Sunday of each month from November 2010 through April 2011 and the third Sunday of May.Each Sunday Matinée will be followed by a Meet-the-Artist reception.
The Open House Series has been a staple program of Dance Theatre of Harlem since its inception. As part of DTH’s community outreach initiatives, the Open Houses provide high quality performances by the students of the Dance Theatre of Harlem School and the Dancing Through Barriers Ensemble®, the performing arm of the DTHSchool, and special guest performers. Performances are held at each month from November through May, and include a post-performance reception. DTH’s Open House Series allows community members who would not otherwise have access to DTH performances, the opportunity to view and appreciate the arts at more than a fraction of the actual ticket price.
In years past special guests have included Councilman Robert Jackson, Daniel Beatty, Phyllis Stickney, the United Nations Children’s Choir; American Ballet Theater’s Studio Company; Ruby Dee Davis; Percussionist, Edwina Tyler, Sidra Bell Dance NY; Lotus Music and Dance; Tania Leon; Kitty Carlisle Hart; and Carmen deLavallade to name a few.
Dance Theatre of Harlem is located at 466 West 152nd Street in a newly-designated landmark district in Harlem.The historic site houses dance studios used by both the Company and the School.