Judy Tyrus, current and long-time adjunct instructor in the Dance Department, has been curator of Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts, sharing a forty-plus year history of Dance Theatre of Harlem in a traveling exhibition.
Founded in 1969, Dance Theatre of Harlem dispelled the idea that dancers of African descent could not perform ballet. Since then, the company has grown into a multi-racial institution that has performed in 41 states and 40 countries on six continents.
With over 250 objects taking up approximately 4,000 square feet, the exhibit includes costumes with set pieces, historical video excerpts, photographs, banners and tour posters from the last 40 years. The historical video excerpts, A Streetcar Named Desire, Creole Giselle, Dougla and Firebird, shed light on ballets that have been iconic to the company.
Dance Theater of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts opened at the University Museum at Texas Southern University in January 2013. It has also been shown at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh, PA, the Irving Arts Center in Irving, TX and is currently installed at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY— the first national exhibition that the museum has ever had.
Tyrus shared, “I am proud that [this exhibit] continues to provide Dance Theatre of Harlem history and inspiration to the public and future generations of dance.” We in the Dance Department are also proud of Tyrus’ work, and we thank Judy for sharing her expertise with our students.