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Season opener! DTH returns to Washington Performing Arts with the world-premiere performances of a new ballet honoring American music icon Hazel Scott, plus Higher Ground scored with Stevie Wonder’s Motown hits.

We are honored and delighted to launch our 2022/23 Season with the illustrious Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH), a frequent collaborator whose very first D.C. performance Washington Performing Arts presented in 1973.

In this special three-performance engagement at Sidney Harman Hall, DTH stages their acclaimed Higher Ground, a 2021 social commentary set to Stevie Wonder's Motown hits. The piece mixes neoclassical dancing with contemporary African-American social dancing, as choreographed by Dance Theatre of Harlem's resident choreographer Robert Garland.

For the second half of the program, DTH presents the world-premiere ballet, Sounds of Hazel, co-commissioned by Washington Performing Arts, and inspired by the life and work of Hazel Scott—the prodigiously gifted Trinidadian-American jazz and classical pianist, bandleader, recording artist, and star of stage and screen. Scott, also known for her fervent civil rights activism, suffered persecution at the height of her fame amid the hysteria of McCarthyism. DTH founding member and artistic director Virginia Johnson, choreographer Tiffany Rea-Fisher, and composer Erica Lewis-Blunt spearhead the Sounds of Hazel creative team.

In Rea-Fisher’s words: “Hazel Scott was a diva with a capital ‘D,’ but she was also super-grounded. She was not afraid to be raw and rough while also being glamorous. Her erasure from history was intentional because she was so audacious. People actively tried to erase her…so to be able to not only not erase her but celebrate her for all that she is and was is really super-super exciting.”

Presented in partnership with CityDance.

National Endowment for the Arts Logo

Washington Performing Arts's Hazel Scott 102nd Birthday Celebration is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Lydia Micheaux Marshall, Dr. Gary Mather and Ms. Christina Co Mather, Barbara Myers and Tom Gallagher, Adam Clayton Powell III and Irene M. Solet, and Jenny Bilfield and Joel Phillip Friedman.

Special thanks to the following lead supporters of Washington Performing Arts’s mission-driven work: Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated; the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities; and the Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts.


DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities