Today’s Black History Month spotlight is on dancer and choreographer, Arthur Mitchell.
- Born on March 27, 1934, Arthur Mitchell always had a talent for dance, and was encouraged upon entering high school to New York’s High School of Performing Arts by a guidance counselor.
- In 1955, Mitchell became the first African American to perform with the New York City Ballet and was the only African American in the dance company until 1970.
- Throughout his dance career, Mitchell performed with white partners all around the world, but those performances were never featured on American network television until 1965, because many states in the South refused to air them.
- Mitchell was also the first African-American founder of a classical training school and company of ballet. After Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, he founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1969 because he wanted to give children in that community an opportunity to explore the arts through classical dance. The Dance Theatre of Harlem still exists today.
Arthur Mitchell on starting the Dance Theatre of Harlem