New York City ballet icon Arthur Mitchell has passed away at age 84 in Manhattan. The New York Times reports the Founding Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem passed away due to complications of heart failure.
Arthur Mitchell served as the director of The Dance Theatre of Harlem after becoming one of the most popular dancers in the New York City Ballet in the 1950’s and 60s.
Mitchell danced under legendary choreographer George Balanchine, resulting in placement in leading roles in storied ballets, which at the time placed him with known white female counterparts. The most notable of the placements was in the 1957 production Agon.
The idea for The Dance Theatre of Harlem was sparked by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Mitchell aimed to ensure that dancers of all backgrounds would find a placement in the dancing world. Arthur Mitchell stepped down nearly a decade ago. However, in the last month Anna Glass, current executive director at the Dance Theater, states Mitchell spent time in the last month assisting in restaging a classic ballet of his to be performed at the 50th anniversary of the company.
Arthur Mitchell, a charismatic dancer with the New York City Ballet in the 1950s and ’60s and the founding director of the groundbreaking Dance Theater of Harlem, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 84. https://t.co/W45rGEO4kY
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 19, 2018
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It’s with the deepest sadness we share the news that our founding artistic director, the great, Arthur Mitchell has passed away. His legacy of passion, power, and perfection will live on through each and every person he’s touched in his lifetime. We love you and we honor you, Mr. Mitchell!