Legendary Artists Highlights - Charmaine Hunter
Charmaine Hunter, world renowned performer, teacher, coach, and advocate of early childhood education through the arts, began her dance journey at the Hartford Ballet School under the direction of Michael Uttoff and Enid Lynn in Hartford, Connecticut. After a year of intense classical training at the Hartford Ballet School, she moved to New York City to study with Arthur Mitchell, founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem and Karel Shook Director of the DTH School. Ms. Hunter studied under the tutelage of Karel Shook, Victoria Simon, Alvin Ailey, Suzanne Farrell, Tanaquil LeClerque, Carmen DeLavellade, Mary Hinkson, and William Griffithof National Ballet of Canada.
Progressively, with hard work, consistency, and dedication, she rose through the ranks and emerged quickly from apprentice to corps de ballet, and eventually became a Principal Dancer of Dane Theater of Harlem. She electrified audiences in a broad spectrum of roles and is best known for her role as the Firebird, choreographed by John Taras, and Medea, choreographed by Michael Smuin. From a young age, she had the determination to make her dreams a reality.
During her 25 years with Dance Theater of Harlem, Charmaine served as a guest artist for several companies in the U.S. and Europe and has performed for luminaries such as United Stated Presidents, Quincy Jones, Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, and Cicely Tyson. She appeared on world stages as one of Americas leading dancers, in countries such as Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, Hong Kong, Israel, Brazil, and Greece. Breaking down global racial barriers and proving that African-American women were more than capable of embodying the essence of the ballerina.
Although Charmaine enjoyed performing and sharing her light with the world, she always found a way to foster the next generation. Concomitantly, she, along with a group of company members, spearheaded the now famous DTH outreach program, Dancing through Barriers, with Arthur Mitchell. The mission was to share ballet with young people in underdeveloped countries and their motto was “given the opportunity, anyone can shine.”
Charmaine has recently accepted the position of Director of the Professional Division at Texas Ballet Theater, in Dallas/Fort Worth, working closely with Artistic Director Ben Stevenson (AD Emeritus of Houston Ballet) and Kathy Warakomsky-Li Director of TBT School.
She is truly an inspiration to brown girl’s everywhere, continuously teaching and mentoring young influential dancers while sharing her passion and love for ballet.