2 3 Throwback Thursday and Arthur Mitchell | Ballet Webb

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday and Arthur Mitchell

Throwback Thursday and Arthur Mitchell
Arthur Mitchell changed the face of dance in more ways than one.  He was selected by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein to join the New York City Ballet.  He thus became the first African American in the company, and went on to be a principal dancer there for fifteen years.  He thus opened the door for the generations that would follow.
Balanchine choreographed several pieces for him, such as the role of Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and the pas de deux in Agon.  But it was just the beginning.
In 1969, with Karel Shook, Arthur Mitchell founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem.  He began by teaching classes out of a garage on 152nd Street, and he designed the school’s curriculum to give African-American students the opportunities that Mitchell himself never had.  From this simple beginning a great company grew.  Today the Dance Theatre of Harlem is recognized as one of the best companies in the world.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #13:  

“Arthur Mitchell was the first African American in the New York City Ballet and the founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.”


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Quote of the Day:

“When your dreams are big enough the odds just don’t matter.”
-          John A. Passaro


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