Dance Theatre of Harlem Ballet School Closes

Classic Arts News   Dance Theatre of Harlem Ballet School Closes
 
The Dance Theatre of Harlem has closed its ballet school, the New York Times reports. Students who arrived for classes on the morning of October 15 were turned away.

According to the paper, the school was forced to close indefinitely because it lost its insurance coverage.

The news comes a month after the groundbreaking dance company: the only neoclassical ballet company made up largely of African Americans: announced it was laying off its 44-member troupe and canceling the remainder of the 2004-05 season. A $2.5 million debt made the drastic measures necessary.

"I'm a little in shock because this is the last thing I expected," Mitchell said of the school's closing. Part of the problem, he told the Times, was that contributions to the school and the company had dropped considerably since the terrorist attacks of September 11.

Parents of ballet students were asked to sign petitions pledging support for the school, which was founded by Mitchell along with the company in 1969, and to call their congressional representatives and city council members asking for help.

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