Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969, not long after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., but it went into a self-imposed hiatus in 2004. DTH company is back, just in time for some pointed conversations in the dance world about the dearth of black performers in major ballet companies. Founder Arthur Mitchell, himself a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, was bent on proving that African-Americans can dance ballet. Current director Virginia Johnson has to balance that mission with the demands of defining ballet itself in a changing cultural landscape. Tonight's three-part program includes a new work, Contested Space, by Spectrum Dance Theater director Donald Byrd, who's no stranger to controversial topics. SANDRA KURTZ

Fri., Nov. 16, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m., 2012

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