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RIP Arthur Mitchell – Balanchine to Dance Theater of Harlem


  • (Photo via)

    Arthur Mitchell passed away at 84.

    Dancer broke barriers for African Americans in the 1950s in leading roles with the New York City Ballet


    George Balanchine with Suzanne Farrell and Arthur Mitchell working on ‘Slaughter on Tenth Avenue’ in 1968.
    Photo by Martha Swope from the collection of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
    via

  • Balanchine archive


  • George Balanchine and Arhtur Mitchell

    Mitchell shares interesting stories about Balanchine. (youtube) or why Pad de deux was so controversial (youtube)

    Arthur Mitchell is an African-American dancer and choreographer who created a training school and the first African-American classical ballet company, Dance Theatre of Harlem.
    In 1955 Mitchell made his debut as the first African American with the New York City Ballet
    Mitchell was the only African-American dancer with the NY City Ballet until 1970. Choreographer and director of the NYCB George Balanchine created the pas de deux in Agon especially for Mitchell and the white ballerina Diana Adams. Although Mitchell danced this role with white partners throughout the world, he could not perform it on commercial television in the United States before 1965, because states in the South refused to carry it.

    Arthur Mitchell

    Slim dragon-fly
    too rapid for the eye
    to cage,

    contagious gem of virtuosity
    make visible, mentality.
    Your jewels of mobility

    reveal
    and veil
    a peacock-tail.

    — by Marianne Moore

  • Arthur Michell Quote

    A Life in Pictures.

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