Mitchell, Arthur,1934–2018, American dancer and choreographer, b. New York City. Mitchell studied in New York City at the School of American Ballet and appeared on Broadway and with various companies at home and abroad. He joined the New York City BalletNew York City Ballet
(NYCB), one of the foremost American dance companies of the 20th and 21st cents. It was founded by Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine as the Ballet Society in 1946.
..... Click the link for more information. in 1956, becoming a soloist in 1959. The first black principal dancer of a major company in history, he danced with the company until 1968. His performance as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1964) was especially acclaimed. He also performed with distinction in Western Symphony, Agon, Afternoon of a Faun, and Ebony Concerto. In 1968, Mitchell founded a ballet school in Harlem, New York City, in order to provide classical academic training to African-American students. By 1970 under his direction the school developed into the Dance Theatre of HarlemDance Theatre of Harlem,
the first black classical ballet company. The group was founded in Harlem, New York City, by Arthur Mitchell, then of the New York City Ballet, the first African-American principal dancer of a classical company of international standing, and the ballet
..... Click the link for more information. , the first African-American classical ballet company. Works he choreographed include Rhythmetron (1968) and Ode to Otis (1969). He stepped down as the company's artistic director in 2009.
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Mitchell, Arthur(1934– ) ballet dancer, choreographer; born in New York City. Trained at the School of American Ballet, he became the first African-American dancer to become a full member of the New York City Ballet (1956). In 1968 he began working toward his vision of a classical ballet school for young African-Americans; by 1970 he was opening the Dance Theater of Harlem, which soon was producing dancers capable of performing both classic and original dances. He continued to direct the internationally renowned school and company.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.