Dance Theater of Harlem was the first black classical ballet company. Its founder, Arthur Mitchell, wanted to challenge ballet companies on their own ground and show that black dancers could dance the same ballets equally well. Concerto Barocco was one of George Balanchine's major ballets and a great test for the company, some of whom had only been dancing for five years. It was the ballet chosen to open the company's first season in London in 1974. Audiences were amazed that a company only five years old could master the cool serenity of Balanchine's style. As Mitchell said, London was important for his company because it was one of the major centres of classical dance.