Diverse Mixed Rep Program Includes “Gloria,” “Return” and “Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven”

dance theatre
After 16 years, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University welcomes back Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) to Chicago as part of its 125th Anniversary Season celebration, November 21–23, 2014. Led by Artistic Director Virginia Johnson, the acclaimed company brings a stunning mixed repertory program including “Gloria” and “Return” by Robert Garland and “Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven” by Ulysses Dove. Heralded by the “Washington Post” as “unequivocally cool,” DTH has made a bold statement in the world of ballet and continues to break boundaries and persevere. Tickets ($30–95) are on sale now and available online at, by calling (800) 982-ARTS (2787) or at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office (50 E Congress Pkwy).

“After 16 years, it is a privilege to host the return of Dance Theatre of Harlem and we could not be more thrilled that this pioneering company is back to regale audiences with their stunning repertoire and incredible dancers,” said Auditorium Theatre Executive Director Brett Batterson. “This company offers audiences a truly unique experience and we are so thrilled to introduce a new generation of Auditorium audiences to Dance Theatre of Harlem, especially during our 125th Anniversary Season.”

Dance Theatre of Harlem Programming

“The Auditorium Theatre was one of my favorite places to perform when I was a dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem,” said Artistic Director Virginia Johnson. “Now, as Artistic Director, it is a thrill and honor to bring the new Dance Theatre of Harlem to Chicago and the Auditorium, particularly as part of its 125th Anniversary celebration.”


A rousing blend of the elegance of classical ballet and the gritty drive of soul music, resident choreographer Robert Garland’s “Return” is a quintessential DTH ballet. Set to the music of Aretha Franklin and James Brown, Garland pushes the boundaries of ballet technique and form, incorporating and blending vernacular movement from the African American experience. From pas de bourree to the Cabbage Patch, ballon to the bump, the ballet fulfills DTH’s idea of what it means to be “Classically American.”

“It’s no joke. ‘Return,’ set to songs performed by James Brown and Aretha Franklin, remains a marvelous showcase for (DTH) dancers, in which choreography — an intoxicating blend of saucy and elegant — absorbs every part of the body, from the hips to the shoulders, while maintaining the sparkling discipline of ballet,” raved the “New York Times.”


Robert Garland’s “Gloria” stands as a tribute to the strong spiritual history and legacy that still abides in the community of Harlem. Set to Francis Poulenc’s “Gloria,” the piece is dedicated to the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, and its current Pastor, the Reverend Calvin Otis Butts III, heralded by “The Star Ledger” as “a mystical hymn of praise.”

Students from Chicago Multicultural Dance Center’s (CMDC) Youth Professional Training program, run by former Dance Theatre of Harlem Principal Dancer Homer Bryant, will also participate in this spiritual piece. Students range in ages from 8 to 12 and have been training with Bryant from as young as three years old.

dancing on the front porch“DANCING ON THE FRONT PORCH OF HEAVEN”
(Odes to Love and Loss)

Choreographed for the Royal Swedish Ballet in 1993, “Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven (Odes to Love and Loss),” was created during a particularly challenging period of time in choreographer Ulysses Dove’s life. Having lost 13 close friends and relatives, among them his father, Dove explained, “I want to tell an experience in movement, a story without words, and create a poetic monument over people I loved.” Set to Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, Dove’s spare but demanding choreography invites dancer and viewer alike to live in each moment as if it were the last. “Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven” was developed in part at the Vineyard Arts Project in Edgartown, MA: Ashley Melone, Founder and Artistic Director.

Performance Schedule and Ticket Information

Friday, November 21 | 7:30pm
Saturday, November 22 | 2pm
Saturday, November 22 | 7:30pm
Sunday, November 23 | 3pm

Tickets ($30-95) are available online at, by calling (800) 982-ARTS (2787) or in-person at Auditorium Theatre’s Box Office (50 E Congress Pkwy). Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are available at (312) 341-2357 or

International Dance Series subscriptions, including Dance Theatre of Harlem as well as Alvin Ailey American Dance TheaterEifman Ballet and The Royal Ballet are available at a 30% discount at (312) 341-2357 or
Auditorium Theatre’s 2014 – 15 Season:

The full Auditorium Theatre 2014 – 15 season includes “On Stage With…Susan Werner” (November 8); Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s “CJP @ Ten” (November 14); Thodos Dance Chicago (November 29); “Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah” (January 17 – 18); Tango Buenos Aires (January 25);Giordano Dance Chicago (January 31); Grupo Corpo (February 28 – March 1); Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (March 6 – 15); River North Dance Chicago (March 28); Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg  (May 8 – 10); “His Way – A Sinatra Centennial Celebration” (May 30); and The Royal Ballet’s “Don Quixote” (June 18 – 21). For a complete listing of events at the Auditorium Theatre, please click here.

125th Anniversary Season Sponsors

The Auditorium Theatre would like to thank their 125th Anniversary Season Sponsors: Lead Corporate Sponsor Nicor Gas, Lead Foundation Sponsor Robert R. McCormick Foundation and David D. Hiller, International Dance Series Sponsor NIB Foundation, and “Made in Chicago” Dance Series sponsor The Boeing Company. Media sponsors include Chicago Magazine and WXRT, and the Pasquinelli Family Foundation is the Gala Dinner Celebration Sponsor. Student Matinee Series Sponsors for the 2014-15 Season include The Private Bank and The Robert Thomas Bobins Foundation.

About Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dance Theatre of Harlem is a leading dance institution of unparalleled global acclaim that uses the art form of classical ballet to change people’s lives. Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and the late Karel Shook. Mitchell, the first African American dancer to become a principal dancer with a major U. S. ballet company (New York City Ballet) turned his despair at the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. into hope by establishing a school and later a company to bring new opportunities to the lives of the young people in the Harlem neighborhood in which he grew up. He believed in the power of training in a classical art form to bring discipline and focus to a challenged community. Dance Theatre of Harlem’s unprecedented success is built on creating innovative and bold new forms of artistic expression. Through varied artistic interactions, Dance Theatre of Harlem has inspired countless people in New York City, across the country and around the world.

Now 45, Dance Theatre of Harlem remains committed to the excellence that has sustained it over the years. At the same time, it is dedicated to reaching new audiences with a powerful message of self-reliance, artistic relevance and individual responsibility, all hallmarks of an organization that has played a key role in the national cultural dialogue. Three years after its re-launch, Dance Theatre of Harlem has toured across the U. S. and internationally, taking its legacy of thrilling performances, artistic innovation and inspiration to audiences wherever the company performs. In addition, the company offers extensive community engagement and arts exposure opportunities as part of the organization’s mission to transform lives through the art form of ballet.

About the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, located at 50 E Congress Pkwy, is an Illinois, not-for-profit organization committed to presenting the finest in international, cultural, community and educational programming to Chicago, and to the continued restoration and preservation of the National Historic Landmark Auditorium Theatre. In September of 2014, the Auditorium Theatre was awarded the inaugural Fifth Star Award by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The Auditorium Theatre is generously supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, the Sage Foundation, and the Palmer House Hilton. For more information about programming, volunteer and donor opportunities or theater tours, call (312) 341-2310 or visit

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