Robert Garland

August 5, 2013

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Robert Garland began his dance training with John Hines at the Philadelphia School for the Performing Arts and the Pennsylvania Ballet. He attended The Juilliard School where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance. Through a four-year scholarship, Garland studied and performed works by noted 20th century choreographers including Anthony Tudor, Paul Taylor, and Jose Limon. During this time he also performed with Ballet Hispanico of New York as a principal dancer. In 1985, he joined Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH), working under the tutelage of Founder and Artistic Director Arthur Mitchell. He quickly rose through the ranks to become a Principal Dancer, dancing many roles from the classical and contemporary repertory, including Four Temperaments, Agon, and Serenade (George Balanchine); Fancy Free (Jerome Robbins); Footprints Dressed in Red (Garth Fagan); The River (Alvin Ailey); Signs and Wonders (Alonzo King); and Concerto in F (Billy Wilson). He also was an instructor at the Dance Theatre of Harlem School, well versed in ballet technique, jazz, modern, and composition. In 1995, Mr. Garland was named Dance Theatre of Harlem’s first official Resident Choreographer, choreographing works for the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s repertory. During this time, he also served as the Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem School. He has collaborated on a work for New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project, with NYCB Principal Dancer Robert LaFosse, in an evening dedicated to Mr. Garland’s mentor, Mr. Arthur Mitchell. He was the first black choreographer to create a work for England’s Royal Ballet. His commercial work has included music videos, commercials and short films, including the children’s television show Sesame Street, a Nike commercial featuring New York Yankee Derek Jeter, the NAACP Image Awards, a short film for designer Donna Karan, and the “Charmin Cha-Cha” for Proctor and Gamble.