NAME: Garland, Robert

BIRTH DATE/LOCATION:
13 July 1961, Philadelphia

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Cedric Rouse and Tai Jumenez of Dance Theatre of Harlem in Robert Garland's Crossing Over
©Nan Melville

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  • identification & bio
  • key contact
  • human repositories
  • video documentation
  • photographic documentation
  • movement notation
  • production materials
  • oral history
  • personal papers
  • immediate needs
  • other relevant information
  • overview of works
  • bibliography
  • back to introduction
  • back to index of choreographers


  • IDENTIFICATION AND BIO:
    A longtime dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Robert Garland is also a ballet choreographer whose Crossing Over (1997) is dedicated to two of the company's dancers—friends of Garland's—who died of AIDS: Calvin Shawn Landers and Carl Jonassaint. The work has been called "a shimmering homage" by Jennifer Dunning in the New York Times. While still a high school student in Philadelphia, Garland was chosen by Dance Theater of Harlem co-founder Karel Shook to receive a scholarship to study with the company. Garland completed a dance degree at the Juilliard School and then joined DTH as an apprentice. In 1996 he was named resident choreographer and artistic administrator of the Dance Theater of Harlem school.

    KEY CONTACT PERSON(S)/EXECUTOR OF ESTATE:
    Robert Garland
    c/o Ed Schoelwer, company manager
    Dance Theater of Harlem
    212-690-2800 ext 158
    eschoewler@dancetheatreofharlem.org

    HUMAN REPOSITORIES OF THE WORK
    (name and contact info, relationship to the artist and the work, assessment):

    Robert Garland and the original cast of Crossing Over: Virginia Johnson, Tai Jimenez, Tanya Wideman, and Cedric Rouse. The second cast consisted of Lenore Pavlakos, Duncan Cooper, Zalika Proctor, and Tanya Wideman. Andrea Long has also performed one of the four key roles. In addition to the four main roles, there are ten corps members.

    VIDEO DOCUMENTATION
    (location, format, condition, assessment):

    A videotaped document was produced by Dance Theater of Harlem and is in the possession of the company and the choreographer.

    PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION
    (location, format, condition, assessment):

    Dance Theater of Harlem archives publicity photographs, which are difficult to track down. Robert Garland holds two photographs.

    MOVEMENT NOTATION
    (location, type [including notes taken by dancers], assessment):

    Garland keeps personal notes addressing patterns, steps, and counts. Garland studied Labanotation at Juilliard, but he does not use it. There is no other notation.

    PRODUCTION MATERIALS
    (scores, sound recordings, set/costume designs):

    Music is by John Adams (Christian Zeal and Activity, and Chairman Dances from Nixon in China). Dance Theater of Harlem keeps a master tape, from a recording conducted by Adams. It was premiered with full orchestra.

    ORAL HISTORY:
    Robert Garland sat for an oral history with the New York Public Library concerning his first ballet, Joplin Dances (1995); call number MGZMT3-1888 (transcripts); MGZTC3-1888 (sound cassettes). An interview in Philadelphia by Sarah Jordan (see below) addresses Crossing Over and its dedication.

    PERSONAL PAPERS
    (location of newspaper clippings, printed programs, press releases, notes, files, diaries; assessment):

    File boxes are kept by Garland at home.

    IMMEDIATE NEEDS
    (archival assistance? storage? other?):

    Garland would like to see another company perform Crossing Over, e.g., Pacific Northwest Ballet.

    OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION:
    None identified.

    LIST OR OVERVIEW OF WORKS
    (title, premiere date, music, production notes, performers):

    Crossing Over (1997)—ballet created for Dance Theater of Harlem in homage to two DTH dancers who died of AIDS, Calvin Shawn Landers and Carl Jonassaint; premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., 8 April 1997; music by John Adams ("The Chairman Dances" from Nixon in China); performed by Virginia Johnson, Tai Jimenez, Tanya Wideman, and Cedric Rouse; lighting by Donalee Katz; costumes by Paela Allen-Cummings; set by Hyun-Joo Kim; piano soloist Michael Cherry.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY:

    • Dunning, Jennifer. 1997. "Dance Review: Harlem Dance Theater, At Home in Washington." New York Times (12 April).
    • Holmes, Ann. 1997. "Leaping to Life: Dance Theater of Harlem Celebrates Triumph of Spirit." Houston Chronicle (27 April).
    • Jordan, Sarah. 1998. "Great Days in Harlem." Philadelphia Weekly (6 May).
    • Kaufman, Sarah. 1997. "After a Hard Winter, Harlem Puts New Steps in Its Spring." Washington Post (9 April): D1.
    • Mitchell, Heather Tod. 1997. "Reviews: Washington, D.C." Dance International 25 (2) (summer): 50-51.
    • Seidel, Miriam. 1998. "A Soulful End to a Dance Season." Philadelphia Inquirer (8 May).
     
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