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Carla Perlo Interview, 2020-05-19

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc021

Scope and Contents

Founding Director Emerita of Dance Place Carla Perlo reflects on her life and leading Dance Place, the organizational host of DanceAfrica, DC. Perlo speaks about her professional trajectory and building one of the nation’s leading dance organizations with focus on how DanceAfrica, DC fits into the larger scope of Dance Place’s 40-year history as a dance presenter, school, and community arts center in Ward 5’s Brookland/Edgewood neighborhood. Perlo also speaks on her legacy in the dance community and the future of dance post COVID-19.


  • Creation: 2020-05-19


Biographical / Historical

Carla Perlo was born in Washington, D.C. in 1951. Perlo has made a lifetime commitment to the fields of dance, youth education and community revitalization through the arts. She is co-founder Dance Place in Washington, D.C. and for thirty-six years served as its visionary Founding Director. With support from the Board of Directors, Dance Place became the second independent organization in the United States to own and operate a facility for the training and presentation of dance. In August 2017, Perlo transitioned to Director Emerita, in which role she remains on Dance Place’s teaching faculty, youth program staff and serves as a consultant. In 2013, Ms. Perlo was honored to receive the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for “Excellence in Service to the Arts.” Other awards include Washingtonian Magazine’s Washingtonian of the Year (1997), The Pola Nirenska Lifetime Achievement Award (2017), and the Ernie Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance (Dance/USA, 2018).


From the Collection: 1.13 Terabytes

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001