Dance Theatre of Harlem (1975-1996)
Baltimore-native Keith Saunders started his dance career at a late stage; when he began his education at Harvard, Saunders encountered Afro-American dance classes, left the school, and dedicated himself to dance. He then joined a company in Boston before his tenure as a company member at Dance Theatre of Harlem, which lasted over 20 years, from 1975-1996. Saunders appeared in the original DTH casts of Robert North’s Troy Game
(1978), Carlos Carvajal’s Shapes of Everything
(1978) and Secret Silence
(1979), Choo San Goh’s Variations Serieuses
(1978), George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments
(1979) and The Prodigal Son
(1995), Carmen de Lavallade
(1979), Frederick Franklin
’s Act II of Swan Lake
(1980), Marius Petipa’s Pas de Dix
Act III (1983), Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Biches
(1983), David Lichine’s Graduation Ball
(1983), Agnes de Mille’s Fall River Legend
(1983), David Gordon’s Piano Movers
(1985), Michael Smuin’s A Song for Dead Warriors
(1993), Alvin Ailey’s The River
(1993), and Robert Garland
’s The Joplin Dances
Saunders then served as assistant ballet master of the company starting in 1994, became ballet master in 1996, and acted as the director of the DTH Ensemble from 2004 to 2012.
He received his MFA in dance from Hollins University in 2017 and has taught at the BalletMet Dance Academy, Ballet Tech, DTH School, University of Wyoming, Snowy Range Dance Festival, Steps on Broadway, and the 92nd Street Y.
Since 2018, Saunders has worked as an assistant professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. He has presented on Arthur Mitchell and DTH twice at professional conferences.