Arthur Mitchell with young students in Harlem


Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dance Theatre of Harlem
New York, United States

Arthur Mitchell became the first permanent African American principal male dancer of a major ballet company in 1955, when he was selected by Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet. He performed for 15 years with the company, quickly rising to the rank of premier danseur. The first African American to achieve this status, he danced in virtually all the ballets in the company’s repertoire. His two standout performances include the pas de deux in Agon, and his portrayal of “Puck” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream—both roles created for him by Balanchine. This great accomplishment—occurring in pre-civil rights America—is one of many reached by Mitchell, and significantly contributed to change the future of dance forever. In 1968 upon learning of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Arthur Mitchell was inspired to provide children―especially those living in Harlem―with the opportunity to study dance and transform their lives.


  • Title: Arthur Mitchell with young students in Harlem
  • Creator: Marbeth
  • Date Created: 1969/1970
  • Location: New York, New York
  • Original Language: English
  • Subject Keywords: Dance, Theatre, Ballet, Harlem
  • Rights: Copyright held by Dance Theatre of Harlem, All Rights Reserved

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