Dance Theatre of Harlem, a company of monumental historic importance, is the first and finest among all-black ballet companies, led by Balanchine protege Arthur Mitchell. And its Chicago run features two meaty new works. John Alleyne, artistic director of Ballet British Columbia, is one of the most exciting choreographers on the planet, creating dances in a style increasingly called extreme ballet–dance that pushes physical limits, also produced by choreographers like William Forsythe and Ashley Page. But Alleyne adds a clean exuberance, and his transformation of classical dance is unique. Opportunities to see Alleyne’s work are limited: though the New York City Ballet has two pieces, his company is more likely to tour Tokyo than New York, much less Chicago. This new work is called Adrian (Angel on Earth). The other piece, by Vincent Mantsoe of South Africa, was created for the Kennedy Center’s “African Odyssey” program and incorporates African, Balinese, and Japanese styles of dance–perfect for a company whose manifesto from the start was the emancipation of people of color everywhere. Two time-tested classics–John Taras’s Firebird and Jose Limon’s The Moor’s Pavane–complete this knockout program. Friday at 8, Saturday at 2 and 8, and Sunday at 3 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress; $15-$48. Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 312-431-2357 for group rates. –Joseph Houseal

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo by Nan Melville.