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Harlem at City Hall

London SE1 website team

The world-renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem gave a demonstration of their skills to around 250 school children at a one-off workshop in the Chamber at City Hall.

Arthur Mitchell, who founded New York's premiere African American classical dance company in 1969, addressed the rapt audience about the rigorous training and individual commitment required to remain at the top of their profession.

The dancers performed an excerpt from the South African Suite, which was inspired by a meeting Arthur Mitchell had with Nelson Mandela; a piece called 'Felines' and another pas de deux danced to Ribbon in the Sky by Stevie Wonder.

Arthur Mitchell ensured that it was an interactive event, encouraging some of the children attending to show off their own skills to the sound of 'Bootylicious' by Destiny's Child which he linked to some of the dance steps and classical positions the they had been shown. The crowd roared as one William Ellis student breakdanced his way across the Chamber floor.

This Black History Month event was organised by Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, in conjunction with Sadler's Well Theatre where the Dance Theatre of Harlem are shortly to begin a short season.

Southwark schools represented included Alma Primary, Beormund Special School, Friars Primary, Grange Primary, Snowsfields Primary, St Joseph's Primary, Tower Bridge Primary andTownsend Primary.

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