The relaunched Dance Theatre of Harlem main company of 18 dancers led by artistic director Virginia Johnson began its triumphant comeback with a United States tour in the 2012–2013 season after being on hiatus since 2004 due to financial difficulties.
“When the company went on hiatus...it left a big hole in the American ballet scene,” a New York Times critic wrote recently. “But after all this time a question remains: Is a predominantly black ballet company even necessary? Just a glance at the makeup of the two main troupes at Lincoln Center provides a swift yes.”
The death of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968 inspired Arthur Mitchell, a principal dancer for the New York City Ballet, to begin the professional company and school in his birthplace of Harlem in 1969.