The Craig Fahle Show

Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts Arrives at The Charles H. Wright Museum

September 6, 2011

The Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts gala, a fundraiser featuring performances by the groundbreaking dance troupe and a bevy of sponsors from Southeastern Michigan’s business and civic community, takes place Friday, September 9, 2011, at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The weekend also includes community and educational programming centered around Dance Theatre of Harlem’s past and present.

The gala event and educational programming take place in concert with the “Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts” exhibit now on display at The Wright Museum through December 31, 2011. This multimedia exhibition, a project of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dance Theatre of Harlem and the California African American Museum, features a rich and colorful mix of spectacular costumes, stage props, posters, programs, photographs and video recordings chronicling the legacy of the dance company. The exhibit is sponsored locally by the GM Foundation.

The Gala is the brainchild of Yvette Bing, First Lady of the City of Detroit and member of the Board of Trustees for The Wright Museum, who saw this exhibit as a unique opportunity to raise the profile of the Museum as one of the region’s cultural jewels and broaden its audience. She’s assembled a powerful host committee of influential women, some newly introduced to the Museum, who are representative of the diversity and idealism inherent in the legacy of Dance Theatre of Harlem. Committee co-chairs include Jo Coleman, Jennifer Fischer, Cynthia Ford, and Kim Reuss; committee members include Betty Brooks, Serena Cockrell, Peggy Daitch, Retha Douglas, Linda Forte, Mary Anne Gargaro, Sharon James, Marion Jones, Florine Mark, Sharon Madison Polk, Vivian Pickard, Sandra E. Pierce, Glenda Price, Suzanne Shank, Dr. Lorna Thomas, and Roberta Hughes Wright, widow of Museum founder Dr. Charles H. Wright.

“The Wright Museum is truly a gem of our city and a wonderful location for this gala," says Mrs. Bing. "I’m honored to host the event and hope that it brings greater awareness to the arts and to the singular vision of (Dance Theatre of Harlem founder) Arthur Mitchell.”

The weekend features two educational programs open to the general public. On Saturday, September 10 at 11 am, the Dance Theatre of Harlem ensemble will present a lecture and demonstration of their world-class technique in words and performance; the cost of admission is $5. On Sunday, September 11 at 6 pm there will be a free film screening of the broadcast production of Dance Theatre of Harlem’s "Creole Giselle," their acclaimed interpretation of the ballet classic and one of their most popular works. The production includes the lead role of Giselle being danced by Virginia Johnson, now Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Artistic Director. Both events have limited seating and require an RSVP; interested attendees should email their name and contact information to or call (313) 494-5856.

Tickets for the Gala are $250 each, which includes the Gala and After Affair, or $75 each for the After Affair only. Additionally, a variety of sponsorship opportunities are available. Complete information and online purchasing are available at

The “Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts” exhibition runs through December 31, 2011, and is free with Museum admission, which is $8 for adults (ages 13 – 61), $5 for seniors (ages 62 and over) and youth (ages 3 – 12), and free for Museum members and children under 3. The Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday, 9 am – 5 pm, and on Sundays from 1 – 5 pm.

Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. For more information, please visit

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