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24

THURSDAY

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When I was 7 years old, my mother took me to a Dance Theatre of Harlem performance. At that time, my ultimate dream was to become a ballet dancer, but I had yet to see black people perform my beloved art. My teacher at the time, a Russian immigrant, didn’t believe that black bodies were made for classical ballet. I almost believed her until I saw DTH. And although I can remember only one piece from that concert—John Taras’ restaging of Stravinsky’s Firebird—I do remember being inspired to forge ahead with my dance studies, a reaction Arthur Mitchell probably hoped to inspire in young African-Americans when he co-founded the first black classical-ballet company in 1969. Thirty-three years later, DTH, and Mitchell, the first African-American principal male dancer with a major ballet company, continue to prove that black people are indeed made for ballet. They perform at 8 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House. $27-$58. (202) 467-4600 (Maori Karmael Holmes)