Main Content

Dance Theatre of Harlem Residency



Photos by Christopher Duggan, Courtesy of Jacob’s Pillow
  Photos by Theik Smith




For virtual access to the Panel Discussion register here for Zoom webinar: 



A rare opportunity to go behind-the-scenes and attend on open rehearsal of Dance Theatre of Harlem.




Dance Theatre of Harlem’s executive and artistic leadership – Anna Glass, Executive Director, Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director, and Robert Garland, Resident Choreographer and Artistic Director Designate – will discuss Arthur Mitchell and DTH’s enduring legacy, initiated with the creation of DTH in 1969, and continuing now into the 21st century.

Moderated by SCCDance Assistant Professor Keith Saunders.



TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 3:45 – 4:45 PM       


Open to the public and suitable for all ages, Dancing in the Street is a fun and accessible community engagement event.  No dance experience is necessary. Participants will be led by DTH company artists in an easy-to-follow warm-up, then learn a section of one of the company’s most popular ballets, Return, choreographed by artistic director designate Robert Garland and set to the music of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.  You will be in the center of the action as everyone is featured when you strut your stuff coming down the Soul Train line.

Dance Theatre of Harlem In Residence at Texas Christian University’s School for Classical & Contemporary Dance

Texas Christian University’s School for Classical & Contemporary Dance (SCCDance) is pleased to announce that renowned American ballet company Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) will be in residence on TCU’s campus February 6 and 7, 2023.  The 2-day educational residency will feature numerous master classes, workshops, outreach activities, conversations on dance, an open rehearsal, a free participatory community engagement event titled Dancing in the Street, and a public panel discussion with the executive and artistic leaders of DTH.  The panel discussion will be live-streamed for nationwide access.

Dance Theatre of Harlem is a dance institution of unparalleled global acclaim, encompassing a professional touring company, a leading studio school, and a national and international education and community outreach program.  Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook, DTH is considered “one of ballet’s most exciting undertakings” (New York Times).  Following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mitchell, a former principal dancer with New York City Ballet, was inspired to start a school that would offer children—especially those in Harlem, where Mitchell was born—the opportunity to learn about dance and the allied arts. Now in its sixth decade, Dance Theatre of Harlem has grown into a multicultural institution with an extraordinary legacy of providing opportunities for creative expression and artistic excellence.  Said SCCDance director Elizabeth Gillaspy, “We are thrilled to host this important and iconic American dance institution on our campus.  Not only is it a rare and wonderful opportunity for our SCCDance students to work directly with the accomplished professional artists of DTH, it also affords us the opportunity to provide dance education outreach programs, as well as involve the local dance and arts communities-at-large in planned residency activities. The SCCDance is deeply grateful for grant support from the TCU College of Fine Arts Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programming Committee, the Provost’s Inclusive Excellence Fund, and a major private gift in support of this extraordinary opportunity.”

TCU’s School for Classical & Contemporary Dance is a conservatory-style program within a liberal arts institution that works to balance rigorous training with educational breadth in a mission “To develop educated dance artists prepared to become ethical professionals and leaders in the global dance community.”  The SCCDance blends technical excellence and artistic integrity with academic challenge and creative inquiry through in-depth experiences in the studio, laboratory, theater, and classroom.  The SCCDance will celebrate its 75th year as a program in 2024-25.


Planned residency activities for SCCDance students include master classes, workshops, and conversations on dance led by DTH artistic director Virginia Johnson, rehearsal director Juan Carlos Penuela, and DTH company artists.  Additionally, DTH dance artists will venture into three Fort Worth high schools with dance programs – Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts, I.M.Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA, and Arlington Heights High School – to share their expertise, perspective, and knowledge with local area students through master classes and career conversations on dance.



Virginia Johnson – Artistic Director

A founding member and long-time prima ballerina of the company, Virginia Johnson was appointed Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem by co-founder Arthur Mitchell in 2010.  Born in Washington, DC, Virginia graduated from the Academy of the Washington School of Ballet and briefly attended New York University as a University Scholar before joining DTH in 1969.  Universally recognized as one of the great ballerinas of her generation, she was featured in classical, neo-classical and contemporary works, but is perhaps best known for her performances in the ballets Giselle, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Fall River Legend, each of which were recorded for broadcast.  While still performing, Johnson ventured into choreography, but her interest in journalism led her to Fordham University where she is pursuing a degree in communications. After retiring from performing, an Independent Artist Grant from The Field led to an exploration of arts presenting. At the School of Visual Arts Johnson studied serigraphy, film making, and television production before the opportunity to create POINTE magazine presented itself. She was founding editor-in-chief of that magazine from 2000-2009.

Her honors include a Young Achiever Award from the National Council of Women, Outstanding Young Woman of America, the Dance Magazine Award, a Pen and Brush Achievement Award, the Washington Performing Arts Society’s 2008-2009 Pola Nirenska Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2009 Martha Hill Fund Mid-Career Award, and honorary doctorates from Cornish College of the Arts, Swarthmore College, and Juilliard. She is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and The Society, Inc.  In February, 2016, she was honored at the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama for her contributions to the field of dance. In 2018, Johnson held the Brackett Visiting Artist Chair at the University of Oklahoma.  She is the recipient of the Mary Day Award from the Washington Ballet, and the 2019 CORPS de Ballet International Lifetime Achievement Award.  In 2020, she was presented with a Medal of Honor from the Actor’s Fund.  Virginia serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU, and Dance/NYC, and serves on the Board of Works & Process. She will pass artistic leadership of DTH to Robert Garland in July, 2023.

Anna Glass – Executive Director

Anna Glass has been involved in the performing arts as both an artist and arts administrator for over twenty-five years. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, recently named an “American Cultural Treasure” by the Ford Foundation and recent recipient of $18.5 million combined gifts from the Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, and MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett – the largest gift amounts in DTH’s history. Together with Artistic Director Virginia Johnson, Anna co-launched a collaborative initiative addressing racial inequity in ballet – The Equity Project. In May 2013, she began her own endeavor dedicated to preserving and documenting the legacies of prominent Black artists and cultural institutions, and reinterpreting those legacies onto multiple platforms, including live performance. She recently produced Carmen de Lavallade’s newest solo show Carmen de Lavallade: Life of a Legend for Jazz at Lincoln Center, and prior to that, As I Remember It– an intimate portrait of this legendary artist, which toured across the country.

Anna has also served as a consultant, providing strategic planning and fundraising guidance to various non-profit arts organizations across the country, and has served as an advisor for the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, supporting New York City non-profits. Anna currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) and the International African American Museum in Charleston, SC. Anna received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and her JD from the University of Dayton School of Law.  A  licensed attorney in the State of New York. Anna lives in Harlem with her husband and daughter.

Robert Garland – Artistic Director Designate

Robert Garland, a native of Philadelphia, began his dance training at the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts and the Pennsylvania Ballet. During this time, he also performed with the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) at the age of 15. Upon graduation from the Juilliard School, he danced for two seasons with Ballet Hispanico, before joining Dance Theatre of Harlem, where he achieved the rank of principal dancer. After creating a work for the DTH School Ensemble, Arthur Mitchell invited Robert Garland to create a work for the professional company and appointed him DTH’s first Resident Choreographer. Over the years, Mr. Garland has choreographed many audience favorites – Return, New Bach, and his most recent ballet, Higher Ground, set to music by Stevie Wonder – among them.  Mr. Garland also serves as Director of the DTH School. In addition to choreographing for DTH, he has created works for New York City Ballet, Britain’s Royal Ballet, Oakland Ballet and many others. His commercial work has included music videos, commercials and short films, including the PBS children’s television show Sesame Street, a Nike commercial featuring New York Yankee great Derek Jeter, the NAACP Image Awards, a short film for designer Donna Karan, and the “Charmin Cha-Cha” for Proctor and Gamble. Most recently, Mr. Garland was commissioned to create an original work for the opening of the Lower Manhattan park, Little Island, featuring Misty Copeland and Black ballet dancers from Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet. Mr. Garland holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Juilliard School in New York City.  He will assume the artistic directorship of DTH in July, 2023.

Juan Carlos Penuela – Rehearsal Director

A native of Cali, Colombia, Juan Carlos Peñuela began dancing at the age of 12 with Incolballet, a ballet-centered secondary school. After graduation, Mr. Peñuela was invited by Artistic Director Gloria Castro to join Ballet de Cali, Colombia’s National Company as a soloist, where he performed a variety of leading roles in both classical and contemporary works. Mr. Peñuela has danced with Ballet Arizona, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Pennsylvania Ballet, Maximum Dance, Ballet Gamonet, Chamber Dance Project and Ballet NY.  He has served as guest Ballet Master and Repetiteur with Compania Colombiana de Ballet, Incolballet, Chamber Dance Project, Lexington Ballet, Ajkun Ballet Theatre in New York City, Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Theatre, Ena Ballet Company in Japan, and Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts International Summer Intensive in Kent, CT.  In 2011, he was invited to Malaysia where he taught at their international festival, restaged Don Quixote, and coached artists from all over the world for the International Gala of the Stars.  From 2014-2018, Juan Carlos held the position of Ballet Master with Ballet Hispánico in New York City, as well as Senior Ballet Teacher for the School of Dance. He has served as a faculty member at the Joffrey Ballet School, Marymount Manhattan College, Ballet Academy East, and the Ailey School.  He has been a guest teacher at the Juilliard School and Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Mr. Penuela holds a Romana’s Pilates certification and teaches Pilates designed for dancers. In 2011 he was certified in American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum. In the summer of 2013, he was invited to teach in Italy as a faculty member of Alvin Ailey School. Since 2017, he has taught at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s (CPYB) summer program. In 2014 and 2017, he attended the CPYB teacher’s training workshop, and in 2017, Juan Carlos was featured in the August edition of Dance Teacher Magazine. For the last 7 years, he has been invited to Panama City as guest teacher and as adjudicator to the Danza Activa Competition and the Ecuador Danza Ciad competition.