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SPOTLIGHT: San Diego Arts

Harlem Dance Theater in Step With Youngsters

February 10, 1988|EILEEN SONDAK

SAN DIEGO — The Dance Theatre of Harlem hits the stage at San Diego's Symphony Hall tonight, but thanks to a new project funded by Pacific Telesis, San Diego schoolchildren already know a thing or two about the East Coast dancing dynamos.

With the help of volunteers from San Diego Performances, local sponsors of the Harlem troupe's seven-performance stint in San Diego, the company has launched a docent program designed to acquaint youngsters with the dancers.

"They send their employees into the schools and show (film) clips of the company and talk to the children about the Dance Theatre of Harlem," said Ruth Howell, a spokeswoman for San Diego Performances.

Many of the students will see the dancers in the flesh as well.

"In celebration of Black History Month, there will be two free matinee performances for schoolchildren," Howell said. This new community outreach program, dubbed "Great Performances for Kids," is made possible, in part, from a grant from the Pacific Telesis Foundation. Both performances are completely booked.

The National Assn. of Negro Business and Professional Women is sponsoring the Dance Theatre of Harlem's final San Diego performance at 7 p.m. Sunday at Symphony Hall.

Alma Hargraves, program chairman for the Oceanside-Carlsbad chapter, said the association has pledged to guarantee payment of 70% of the potential gross sales of that performance. Proceeds over and above that amount will be shared by the group's scholarship fund and the United Negro College Fund.

An original poster commemorating Dance Theatre of Harlem's San Diego engagement (designed by black artist Mack Latson) will be for sale at all performances. Proceeds from poster sales will benefit the United Negro College Fund.

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