Arthur Mitchell: Harlem's Ballet Trailblazer

Arthur Mitchell, Artist Extraordinaire > Timeline





Unless otherwise noted, New York City Ballet performances before 1964 take place at New York City Center and thereafter at the New York State Theater, Lincoln Center.


Born March 27, 1934 in Harlem to Arthur Adams Mitchell Sr., a riveter by trade who worked as a building superintendent, and his wife, Willie Mae Hearns Mitchell, both from Savannah, Georgia.  The second of the couple’s six children, he lives at various addresses in Harlem – 113th Street and Lenox Avenue (where he was born), 221 West 148th Street (where the family was recorded in the 1940 census), 152nd Street between Amsterdam and Broadway, and finally 534-36 West 143rd Street, in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood, where he spends most of his childhood.  His siblings are Frances Marie fourteen years his senior), Charles William, Laura Mae, Herbert Gerald, and Shirley Elizabeth (all younger).


Attends Public School 186 at 525 West 145th Street.  Another celebrated alumnus is Harry Belafonte.

At age ten begins to study tap dance at Police Athletic League.  He also sings in the neighborhood’s PAL Glee Club and the Convent Avenue Baptist Church Choir.

Attends Junior High School 43 at 509 West 129th Street, where a guidance counselor encourages him to audition for the High School of Performing Arts.  He performs a tap dance number, “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” staged by Tom Nip, a black vaudevillian, Broadway dancer, and choreographer, and is admitted to the school’s dance program in 1949.


Attends New York’s High School of Performing Arts, majoring in modern dance and studying with Shirley Broughton, Nancy Lange, Gertrude Shurr, Nanette Charisse, and others.  Graduating in 1952, he receives the school’s annual dance award – the first male to do so.  He also begins studying ballet with Karel Shook at the Katherine Dunham School and attends performances of the New York City Ballet at City Center.  When he graduates, he is offered scholarships to the School of American Ballet (SAB) and Bennington College.


Music in Motion, Altoona Undergraduate Center (now Penn State Altoona), Altoona, PA, March 3, 1951

Group concert, with dances by Shirley Broughton, Marian Edelson,  Rena Gluck, Sandra Lansky, Arthur Mitchell, Natanya Neuman, and Geri Rappaport.  Mitchell appears in Broughton’s Static and dances a solo of his own, Primitive Study, to drum accompaniment by Henry Brunjes.

Going Places: An Evening’s Entertainment, presented by the Boy Scouts of America 157, Brooklyn, and the O.F.S. Society, Thomas Jefferson High School, Brooklyn, New York City, March 16, 1951, Mitchell appears in several numbers, including Orientale, Cuban Episode, and Dancing Boys, and is one of the evening’s three choreographers.

Workshop Program of Dance Department, School of Performing Arts, Division Metropolitan Vocational High School, New York City June 6-8, 1951. Mitchell appears in Shirley Broughton’s Introduction and Quartet; Natanya Neuman’s Lyric Suite; and Jazz 5/4, performed by Betty J. Walberg’s rhythm analysis class.

Dance Concert: Helen McGehee / Natanya Neumann, The Dance Theatre of the Y.M. and Y.W.H.A., New York City, December 1, 1951. Mitchell appears in Natanya Neumann’s Lyric Suite.


Stage for Dancers, Henry Street Playhouse, New York City, February 4, 1952. Group concert with dances by Jane Binney, Shirley Broughton, Louise Lieppold, and Valentina Oumansky.  Mitchell appears in Shirley Broughton’s Quartet.

Purim Jubilee, Madison Square Garden, New York City, March 17, 1952. Appears in the ensemble of modern dancers led by Dorothy Bird and choreographed by Anna Sokolow.  The Pruim Festival and Pageant, of which the Jubilee was a part, was sponsored by the Greater New York Committee for State of Israel Bonds.

Theatre Dance, Inc., Kaufman Auditorium, New York City, April 6, 1952

Group concert with dances by Natanya Neumann, Iving Burton and Mary Hinkson, Marie Marchowsky, Emy St. Just, Shirley Broughton, Miriam Cole, Jack Moore, and Mary Anthony.  Mitchell appears in Broughton’s Quartet.

Four Saints in Three Acts, Broadway Theatre, New York City, April 16-27, 1952. Makes his Broadway debut as one of six dancing angels in a revival of the 1934 Virgil Thomson-Gertrude Stein all-black opera that stars Leontyne Price and is choreographed by William Dollar.  The dancers are Billie Allen, Robert Curtis, Carolyn Jorrin, Louis Johnson, Arthur Mitchell, and Helen Taitt.

Louise Lippold and Shirley Broughton and Company, Henry Street Playhouse, New York City,   May 18, 1952. Appears in the concluding Quartet to music by Morton Feldman.

Four Saints in Three Acts, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris, May 31-June 5, 1952

Spends summer traveling in Europe with Robert Curtis.

Fall 1952. Begins studying at the School of American Ballet where his teachers include Pierre Vladimiroff, Anatole Oboukhoff, Muriel Stuart, and Elise Reiman.  In addition, he begins intensive study with Karel Shook, then teaching at the Katherine Dunham School, who becomes his mentor.

Chanukah Festival of Light, Madison Square Garden, New York City, December 15, 1952. Mitchell appears in the huge pageant choreographed by Sophie Maslow with a number of other African-American artists, including the pianist Hazel Scott and the dancers Ronne Aul, Donald McKayle, and Matt Turney.

Stage for Dancers, Brooklyn High School for Homemaking, President Street and Classon Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, December 16, 1952. Group concert with choreography by Tom Ribbink, Gloria Newman, Alec Rubin, Nina Greer, Jo Anne Melcher, and Harriet Wallman.  Mitchell appears in Newman’s Folk Suite.


Dance Associates, Kaufman Auditorium, New York City, January 25, 1953. Group concert with choreography by Alec Rubin, Shirley Broughton, Irving Burton, James Waring, Natanya Neuman, and David Vaughan.  Mitchell appears in Vaughan’s The Youngest Brother.

Dance Perspectives, Theatre-Studio of the Dance, New York City, February 23, 1953. Takes part in a discussion entitled “A Common Vocabulary of Dance Terms” with Muriel Stuart and Shirley Broughton.

Stage for Dancers, New York City, May 19, 1953. Group concert with works choreographed by Fred Berk, Shirley Broughton, and Judith Martin.  Mitchell appears in Martin’s Quartet.

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Beckett, Massachusetts, July 16-18, 1953. Appears in two works by Donald McKayle, Games and Nocturne, a premiere.


Dance Concert, Henry Street Playhouse, January 31, 1954. Group concert with choreography by Robin Gregory, Bruce King, Tom Ribbink, and Ethel Winter.   Mitchell, who appears in Ribbink’s Soliloquy, heads the cast of “assisting artists” with Matt Turney.

Donald McKayle and Dance Company, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York City, February 17, 1954. Appears in The Street, Nocturne, and Games, all choreographed by McKayle.

New Dance Group Festival, Ziegfeld Theatre, New York City, February 22, 1954. Appears in Donald McKayle’s Games.

New Dance Group, Second Annual Concert Series, Theresa L. Kaufmann Auditorium, New York City, March 30-April 4, 1954. Group concert with choreography by Sophie Maslow, Daniel Nagrin, Eve Gentry, Mary Anthony, and Donald McKayle.  Mitchell appears in McKayle’s Nocturne.

Begins teaching at Studio of Dance Arts, New York City, spring 1954. In addition to Mitchell, the faculty includes Karel Shook, Cholly Atkins, Geoffrey Holder, Louis Johnson, and the composer Alonzo Levister.  The School, located at 709 Eighth Avenue in the theater district, attracts many African-American dancers.

Choreographers’ Workshop, Inc., Central High School of Needle Trades, New York City, April 17, 1954. Group concert with choreography by Marion Scott, Shirley Broughton, Louis Johnson, Nina Caiserman, and Richard Englund.  Mitchell appears in Johnson’s Lament.

The Ballet Theatre Workshop, Theresa L. Kaufmann Auditorium, 92nd Street Y, New York City, April 27, 1954. Appears in Out of Eden, choreographed by Hubert Farrington, and Concerto, choreographed by William Dollar.

New York Ballet Club, Fourth Annual Choreographers’ Night, Central High School of Needle Trades, May 2, 1954. Group concert with choreography by Dick Andros, Louis Johnson, Helene Platova, Nina Youshkevitch, Hubert Farrington, and Alexandra Warenik.  Mitchell appears in Farrington’s Out of Eden.

Arabian Nights, Jones Beach Marine Theatre, Wantagh, New York, June 24-September 11, 1954. A “new musical extravaganza,” with choreography by Yurek Lazowski and starring (among others) the ballerina Mia Slavenska, Arabian Nights had a “Dancing Ensemble” of nearly forty dancers, including Mitchell.

House of Flowers, Alwin Theatre, New York City, December 30, 1954-May 21, 1955. Dances in the Harold Arlen-Truman Capote musical House of Flowers starring Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll, Juanita Hall, and Josephine Premice, and choreographed by George Balanchine and Herbert Ross.  The all-star cast of dancers includes Alvin Ailey, Carmen de Lavallade, Geoffrey Holder, Donald McKayle, Walter Nicks, Louis Johnson, and Glory Van Scott.


American Dance, ANTA Theatre, New York City, May 3-22, 1955. Dances Three Promenades with the Lord (May 4/18) and Long-Legged Jig: The Doin’s of Davy Crockett (May 7), with the John Butler Dance Theatre.  Sponsored by the B. de Rothschild Foundation, this festival of “the greatest in contemporary dance” offered a score of new works by leading modern dance companies and solo artists.

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Becket, Massachusetts, July 1-2, 1955. Appears in John Butler’s The Haunted World and Malocchio – The Evil Eye, along with two premieres, Seven Faces of Love and Clowns and Angels.

American Dance Theatre, Piccolo Teatro, Genoa, July 22-23, 1955. Appears in Tre Passeggiate con Dio (Three Promenades with the Lord), Mondo Tormentato, La Leggenda di Davy Crockett (The Legend of Davy Crockett), and Cinderella, all choreographed by John Butler.

John Butler’s American Dance Theatre, Grand Theatre Gooiland, Netherlands, August 8, 1955. Appears in the New England and Southern Baptist segments of Three Promenades with the Lord, Adventure (to original music by Samuel Barber), The Haunted World (one of two Mimes of God), and Frontier Ballad (barytone solo), and Davy Crockett (A Dancer).

John Butler’s American Dance Theatre, Kurzaal, Scheveningen, Netherlands, August 7, 9, 1955. On tour with the Butler company in the Netherlands, Mitchell receives a telegram from Lincoln Kirstein inviting him to join New York City Ballet, August 24, 1955.

Western Symphony (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, November 8, 1955. Makes his New York City Ballet debut in Western Symphony, partnering Tanaquil Le Clercq in the Rondo.

Firebird (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, November 10, 1955. Dances the role of a Monster.

Picnic at Tintagel (Frederick Ashton), New York City Ballet, November 11,1955. Dances the role of a Herald.

Pied Piper (Jerome Robbins), New York City Ballet, November 13, 1955. Makes debut in principal role opposite Tanaquil Le Clercq.

Fanfare (Jerome Robbins), New York City Ballet, November 13, 1955. Dances the role of a Trumpet.


Interplay (Jerome Robbins), New York City Ballet, February 28, 1956.

Allegro Brillante (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, March 1, 1956 (premiere). One of four male demi-soloists.

The Concert (Jerome Robbins), New York City Ballet, March 6, 1956 (premiere). Member of the ensemble.

Jeux d’Enfants (George Balanchine, Barbara Milberg, Francisco Monción), March 8, 1956. Appears in “The American Box.”  Later in the season he dances one of the Hobby Horses.

Illuminations (Frederick Ashton), March 15, 1956. Appears in “Being Beauteous,” with Tanaquil Le Clercq and, later in the season, with Diana Adams.

Prodigal Son (George Balanchine), March 16, 1956. One of the Drinking Companions.

Western Symphony (George Balanchine), March 21, 1956. Dances the male lead in the Ronda, partnering Diana Adams.

Kiss Me, Kate, New York City Center, May 9-27, 1956. Appears both as a dancer and in the role of the Haberdasher in the revival of the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate.

Carmen Jones, New York City Center, May 31-June 17, 1956. Appears in the revival of Oscar Hammerstein’s all-black musical Carmen Jones.  Among the other dancers are Glory Van Scott, Billy Wilson, Joseph Nash, Kathleen Stanford, and Walter Nicks. The show plays the Carter Barron Auditorium, Washington, D.C., July 19-August 1, 1956.

Makes his first European tour with the New York City Ballet, appearing with the company in Salzburg, Vienna, Zurich, Venice, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Brussels, Antwerp, Paris, Cologne, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, returning to New York in November 1956.

Tanaquil Le Clercq contracts polio in Denmark. Balanchine remains with her in Europe when the company returns home.


The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore, or The Three Sundays of a Poet (John Butler), New York City Ballet, January 15, 1957 (premiere). Dances the role of the Unicorn.

Filling Station (Lew Christensen), New York City Ballet, January 31, 1957. Dances the role of a truck driver.

The Nutcracker (Balanchine), New York City Ballet, February 12, 1957. Dances the role of Coffee. In later seasons he also dances the role of the Mouse King.

Shinbone Alley (Joe Alexander and Rod Alexander), Broadway Theatre, New York City, April 13, 1957. Assistant to the choreographer.  Among the dancers in the show, based on the Archie and Mehitabel stories and starring Eartha Kitt and Eddie Bracken, were Allegra Kent, Jacques d’Amboise, Albert Popwell, and Claude Thompson.

Newport Jazz Festival, July 4-8, 1957. Appears with Claude Thompson and Harold Gordon in an “interpretative dance program” choreographed by Eartha Kitt.

Agon (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, December 1, 1957 (premiere). Dances the principal male role, partnering Diana Adams in the pas de deux.


On tour with the New York City Ballet, he dances in Tokyo, Osaka, Sydney, Melbourne, and Manila, March 17-August 10, 1958. Adds leading roles in Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, Bourrée Fantasque, and The Four Temperaments (Phlegmatic) to his repertory.

Souvenir de Madrid (Shirley Broughton), June 10, 1958. Appears on Australian television partnering Ruth Sobotka.

Dances the Agon pas de deux for the first time with Allegra Kent, New York City Ballet, September 21, 1958.

First appears on the New York City Ballet roster as a soloist during the City Center season, November 25, 1958-February 1, 1958.

The Nutcracker (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, Playhouse 90, CBS-TV, December 25, 1958. Dances the role of Coffee and is one of four cavaliers partnering Diana Adams as the Sugar Plum Fairy.


Johnny and the Small Show, a musical double bill, with book, music, and lyrics by David C. Hughes, direction by Alvin D. Ross, and choreography by Louis Johnson, The Settlement Auditorium, East Side House, 540 East 76th Street, New York City, May 14-22, 1959. Mitchell is credited as Johnson’s assistant.

Western Symphony (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, August 25, 1959. Dances the first movement, partnering Violette Verdy, and, later in the year, Jillana.

Tonight with Belafonte, CBS television special, aired December 10, 1959. Featuring Harry Belafonte, Odetta, and other musical talent, the show includes a lyrical duet performed by Mitchell and Mary Hinkson.

Medea (Birgit Cullberg), New York City Ballet, December 17, 1959. Dances the role of Jason with Melissa Hayden in the title role.


Stars and Stripes (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, January 16, 1960. Dances the role of “El Capitan,” partnering Violette Verdy as “Liberty Ball.”

Panamerica, New York City Ballet, January 20, 1960 (premiere). Dances principal roles in two of the ballet’s eight sections, Ocho por Radio (Gloria Contreras) and Danzas Sinfónicas (Balanchine).

They Called Her Moses (Donald McKayle), a drama in dance about Harriet Tubman, aired on CBS, April 3, 1960. Along with Mitchell, the dancers include McKayle, Mary Hinkson, Carmen de Lavallade, and Sylvia Waters.

The Figure in the Carpet (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, April 13,1960 (premiere). Mitchell appears in the section “Africa: The Oni of Ife and His Consort,” partnering guest artist Mary Hinkson.  In later seasons this episode was sometimes dropped from the ballet.

New American Ballets, Festival of Two Worlds, Teatro Nuovo, Spoleto, Italy, June 10-July 3, 1960. Mitchell dances in Entrance (Karel Shook), Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder (Donald McKayle), and Toccata (Herbert Ross).  In addition to Paul Taylor, who choreographed Meridian, the dancers are Pina Bausch, Mary Hinkson, Akiko Kanda, Ralph Linn, William Louther, McKayle, Mitchell, Robert Powell, Mable Robinson, Kathleen Stanford, Dan Wagoner, and Dudley Williams.

Takes part in the New York City Ballet’s season at the Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, July 25-August 6, 1960.

Symphony in C (George Balanchine), Ravinia Festival (Chicago), August 12, 1960. Dances the principal male role in the Fourth Movement, partnering Jillana.

Belafonte, New York 19, CBS television spectacular, aired November 20, 1960. Mitchell appeared in a “Pas de Quatre,” with Mary Hinkson, Pat Dunn, and Julie Robinson.  Robinson, a former Katherine Dunham dancer, was married to Belafonte.

Creation of the World (Todd Bolender), New York City Ballet, December 7, 1960 (premiere). Mitchell danced the role of the Snake.

Ebony Concerto (John Taras), New York City Ballet, December 7, 1960 (premiere). Mitchell dances the principal male role, partnering Patricia McBride.


Modern Jazz: Variants (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, January 4, 1961 (premiere). Mitchell dances one of the principal male roles, partnering Melissa Hayden, and John Jones, an African-American guest artist, the other, partnering Diana Adams.  In later performances Jones was replaced by an NYCB dancer.

Ivesiana (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, March 16, 1961 (revival). Mitchell dances “In the Inn,” partnering Diana Adams.  Later in the year he performs this with Allegra Kent.

Festival of Two Worlds, Spoleto, Italy, June 15-July 16, 1961. Appears as an actor in the one-act Italian play Il Pegno, directed by Gian-Carlo Menotti; as a choreographer of the “Dance of the Seven Veils” for the African-American soprano Margaret Tynes in Luchino Visconti’s production of the opera Salome; and as a dancer/choreographer in Monsieur Chocolat and, with Akiko Kanda, in Sala di prova (Rehearsal Studio) and In giardino (In the Garden) for the 1961 edition of the revue Album Leaves.

Dances with NYCB in Chicago (Ravinia Festival) and in Los Angeles.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, January 17, 1962 (premiere). Creates the role of Puck, which is received with accolades.

Takes part, with Patricia McBride, Conrad Ludlow, and a small group of New York City Ballet dancers, in lecture-demonstrations sponsored by the New York Council of the Arts in Geneseo, Rochester, and Massina, New York, February 14-15, 1962.

Orfeo ed Euridice (Gluck), Metropolitan Opera House, New York City, March 3, 1962. Appears with Violette Verdy (replacing an injured Alicia Markova) in John Taras’ choreography of the Gluck opera.  Additional performances are given on March 10, 21, 29, and April 20, 1962.

Episodes (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, May 1, 1962. Dances the Ricercata with Gloria Govrin.

Orpheus (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, May 11, 1962. Makes his debut as the Dark Angel in a revival of the ballet with Edward Villella as Orpheus.

Films the Agon pas de deux with Patricia McBride for Stravinsky at 80: A Birthday Tribute, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, telecast on June 11, 1962.

Noah and the Flood (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, CBS-TV, June 14, 1962. Appears in this made-for-television dance drama by Igor Stravinsky, with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

Dances Agon with Allegra Kent and the Dark Angel in Orpheus at the Hamburgische Staatsoper’s Stravinsky Festival, Hamburg, Germany, June 24-28, 1962.

United States Tour: Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, July 2-14, 1962; War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, July 16-21; Seattle Word’s Fair Opera House, July 24-August 4; Ravinia Festival, Chicago, August 7-12, 1962.  At Ravinia he dances Ivesiana (with Allegra Kent), the Fourth Movement of Symphony in C (with Jillana), Western Symphony (Rondo, with Gloria Govrin; Allegro, with Jillana), and Episodes (Ricercata, with Gloria Govrin).

First appears on the New York City Ballet roster as a principal dancer during the company’s European tour, September 1-December 1, 1962.

Opening night of the New York City Ballet’s first Soviet tour, Bolshoi Theater, Moscow, October 9, 1962. Performs the Agon pas de deux with Allegra Kent and the Rondo in Western Symphony with Gloria Govrin.  During the seven-week tour, which includes Leningrad, Kiev, Tbilisi, and Baku as well as Moscow, Mitchell and Kent become great favorites of the Russian public.


Arcade (John Taras), New York City Ballet, March 28, 1963 (premiere). Mitchell dances the principal male role, partnering Suzanne Farrell.

The Moor of Venice (Heinz Rosen), Bavarian State Opera Ballet, Munich, June 18, 1963 (premiere). Mitchell performs the role of Othello.  Claire Sombert of the Paris Opéra Ballet is Desdemona.

Romeo and Juliet (John Cranko), Württembergische Staatstheater Stuttgart, July 18, 1963. Mitchell, as a guest artist, dances the role of Mercutio.  Attilio Labis, a guest artist from the Paris Opéra, is Romeo.  Marcia Haydée, who originated the role, is Juliet.

Katalyse (John Cranko), Württembergische Staatstheater Stuttgart, July 19, 1963. Mitchell, as a guest artist, dances the role of the Catalyst (Katalysator).  The ballet, with an ensemble divided into a “Black Group” and a “White Group,” premiered on November 8, 1961.

Gala-Abend, Württembergishce Staatstheater Stuttgart, July 20, 1963. Performs the Stars and Stripes pas de deux with Violette Verdy, also a guest artist.

Ravinia Festival, Chicago, August 6-11, 1963. Performs Bugaku for the first time (with Mimi Paul).

Dance – Panels in Seven Movements (Heinz Rosen), Bavarian State Opera Ballet, Munich, December 3, 1963 (premiere). Choreographed to a score by Aaron Copland, the ballet features  Mitchell, on leave from the New York City Ballet, and Paris Opéra ballerina Liane Daydé.


Dances the Agon pas de deux with Suzanne Farrell, New York City Ballet, January 15, 1964.

Clarinade (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, April 29, 1964 (premiere). Mitchell dances one of the principal male roles, partnering Gloria Govrin.

Electre (Grant Strate), National Ballet of Canada, Festival Theatre, Stratford, Ontario, August 9, 1964 (premiere). Mitchell (Orestes) appears as a guest artist with soloists from the National Ballet of Canada, partnering Joysanne Sidimus (Electra), a former New York City Ballet dancer.

Piège de Lumière (John Taras), New York City Ballet, October 1, 1964 (company premiere). Mitchell dances the role of the Young Convict. This ballet was originally choreographed for the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas, Théâtre de l’Empire, Paris, December 23, 1952.


Teaches a Ford Foundation scholarship class once every three weeks at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet, Washington, D.C.  Tuition is paid by the Ford Foundation, Mitchell’s stipend and expenses by the School of American Ballet.  Private funds came from the Lena Robbins Foundation, Lincoln Kirstein, and Miles David.

Divertimento No. 15 (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, January 8, 1965. Dances the Allegro, Andante, and Fifth Variation.  He later dances the ballet, partnering Melissa Hayden.

Dances Ivesiana (“In the Inn”) with Suzanne Farrell, New York City Ballet, January 21, 1965.

Dances Afternoon of a Faun (Jerome Robbins) with Kay Mazzo, New York City Ballet, January 24, 1965.

Tells New York Times dance critic Allen Hughes that restrictions on mixed couples performing together has barred him from appearing in his usual repertory on commercially-sponsored American television (February 21, 1965).  A photograph of Mitchell with his frequent partner Allegra Kent in the Agon pas de deux accompanies the article.

Dances the First Movement in Symphony in C (George Balanchine), partnering Patricia McBride, New York City Ballet, April 22, 1965.

Dances Afternoon of a Faun with Patricia McBride, New York City Ballet, May 8, 1965.

Appears in a tribute to Dr. Franklin J. Keller, founder of the (High) School of Performing Arts.  The evening features performances by several alums, including Mitchell, who dances the pas de deux from Stars and Stripes with Victoria Simon, another graduate (May 9, 1965).

Don Quixote (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, May 28, 1965 (premiere). Mitchell dances the Rigaudon Flamenco with Gloria Govrin in Act II.

Dances Afternoon of a Faun with Kay Mazzo, Capitol Ballet Company, Cramton Auditorium, Washington, D.C., June 19, 1965. The Capitol Ballet Company was a multiracial performing ensemble founded in 1961 by Doris W. Jones and Claire H. Haywood as an extension of the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet.

Arthur Mitchell, Sr. dies in Harlem Hospital, New York City, on July 1, 1965.

Takes part in the New York City Ballet’s highly successful season at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, August 30-September 11, 1965.  During the engagement Anthony Crickmay photographs Mitchell in his studio performing the Phlegmatic solo from The Four Temperaments.


Forms a company of twenty-six prominent African-American dancers to perform at the World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, Senegal, April 1-24, 1966.  The company, which includes Carmen de Lavallade, John Jones, Llanchie Stevenson, Paula Kelly, Bill Luther, Dudley Williams, Claude Thompson, Sarah Yarborough, and William Louther, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, which ultimately declines to fund it.  Modern dance works by Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, Alvin Ailey, Talley Beatty, Louis Johnson, Donald McKayle, and Walter Nicks as well as ballets by Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine were included in the repertory.

Appears in the Agon pas de deux with Suzanne Farrell in U.S.A.– Dance: New York City Ballet, telecast on WNET/13, April 19, 1966.  The other featured pas de deux are Taratella, Meditation, and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, all by Balanchine.

Performs Balanchine’s Ragtime with Suzanne Farrell in the New York Philharmonic’s A Festival of Stravinsky: His Heritage and His Legacy, July 15, 1966.

La Guirlande de Campra (John Taras), New York City Ballet, December 1, 1966 (premiere). Mitchell dances the 6th Variation (Sauguet), partnering Melissa Hayden


Prologue (Jacques d’Amboise), New York City Ballet, January 12, 1967 (premiere). Mitchell dances the role of Othello.

Ragtime (II) (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, January 17, 1967 (premiere). Duet for Mitchell and Suzanne Farrell.  This was a reprise of the work choreographed for the New York Philharmonic’s Stravinsky Festival the previous summer.

Arrives in Rio de Janeiro with Gloria Contreras, a Joffrey Ballet dancer and choreographer, to organize and direct Brazil’s new Companhia Nacional de Ballet, January 26, 1967.  They are sent by the U.S. State Department under an agreement with Brazil’s Ministry of Education and Culture and join Suzanne Ames, a former member of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, who is already teaching the company.

Takes part in the inaugural performance at the Teatro Castro Alves in Salvador, Bahia, March 4, 1967.  The program includes four works by Gloria Contreras – Concierto (Bach), Encuentro (Peter Dickinson), Alusões (Webern), and Divertimento (Edino Krieger) – and the Agon pas de deux, which Mitchell performs with the Brazilian dancer, Alice Colino.  The same program was repeated in Rio de Janeiro on March 16-18.

Trois Valses Romantiques (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, April 6, 1967 (premiere). Mitchell dances one of the principal male roles, partnering Melissa Hayden.

Creates the dances and appears on camera in Michael Cacoyannis’ film The Day the Fish Came Out, starring Tom Cortenay, Sam Wanamaker, Colin Blakely, and Candice Bergen.  The film is released in New York City on October 2, 1967.


Metastaseis & Pithoprakta (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, January 18, 1968 (premiere). Mitchell dances the principal male role, partnering Suzanne Farrell.

Returns to Rio de Janeiro to stage two programs for the Companhia Brasileira de Ballet, February 7, 1968. In an interview with the Jornal do Brasil (February 8) he says that he is a “pacifist, hates the war in Vietnam, and detests social conventions.”  He remains in Brazil rehearsing the company until the end of February.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated in Memphis, April 4, 1968.

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, May 2, 1968 (premiere). Mitchell dances the role of the Hoofer, partnering Suzanne Farrell.

Requiem Canticles (George Balanchine), New York City Ballet, May 2, 1968 (one performance only). A requiem in movement to Martin Luther King with Mitchell and Suzanne Farrell as the principal dancers.

Debut of the Companhia Brasileira de Ballet at the Teatro Novo, Rio de Janeiro, June 11, 1968. The company of thirty dancers gives the first performance of Mitchell’s Rhythmetron and Convergências, both to music by Marlos Nobre.

Begins teaching ballet at Dorothy Maynor’s Harlem School of the Arts, July 1968.

Noel Coward’s Sweet Potato, Barrymore Theatre, New York City, September 29-November 23,  1968. Mitchell appears in his first acting and singing role.  The music, lyrics, and book were by Noel Coward, the stage direction and choreography by Lee Theodore.

Symphony of New York, Carnegie Hall, New York City, December 1968. Appears with Mary Hinkson in a mixed-media interpretation of Berlioz’ “Fantastic Symphony,” with projections by Garner Compton, sounds from the “By George Singers,” and readings from Shakespeare by actor-director Burgess Meredith.  Mitchell is the choreographer.  This was a benefit performance for the orchestra’s free music workshops for black and Puerto Rican children and for the New York Clinic for Mental Health.


Tonight Show, hosted by Johnny Carson, CBS-TV, February 11, 1969. In what would have been his first appearance partnering a white ballerina on U.S. network television since The Nutcracker (1958), Mitchell is booked to dance the pas de deux from Slaughter on Tenth Avenue with Suzanne Farrell.  However, at the last minute the number is cut.

Mitchell appears with the New York City Ballet during its season at the Salle Garnier in Monte Carlo, June 20-26, 1969.

Critic Clive Barnes describes Mitchell as dividing his time between Dance Theatre of Harlem and “his continuing work as a star of the New York City Ballet” (New York Times, October 12, 1969).

Mitchell and Sara Leland perform at at event honoring Julius Rudel and George Balanchine “for contributions in their fields by the Friends of City Center of Music and Drama,” November 12, 1969.

Performs Ivesiana with Gloria Govrin, November 24, 1969.


Although Mitchell remains a member of New York City Ballet, his appearances become increasingly rare.


Receives the Twentieth Annual Capezio Dance Award, which is presented by Melissa Hayden, at the St. Regis Hotel, New York City, May 26, 1971.  The citation reads: “One could honor Arthur Mitchell for his extraordinarily accomplished performing as a ballet star in a variety of challenging roles seen and admired over the years.  As a human being an a leader in the world of dance, one also honors him for representing a constantly positive force in a sometimes negative world.  His very newest accomplishment, for which we especially honor him today, is the creation, and building to a remarkable degree of professionalism, of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the first permanent black classical ballet troupe in history, a young and vital company which he and his associate, Karel Shook, have guided (in classroom, rehearsal, and on stage) to the degree that it now serves not only a community but also the world at large.”

Gives what appears to be his last performance as a member of New York City Ballet, dancing the Agon pas de deux with Allegra Kent, June 4, 1971.

Discussing the opening of the New York City Ballet’s winter season, Clive Barnes writes: “One aspect of the season that seems to have passed without notice is the absence of Arthur Mitchell’s name from the roster of principals, for the first time in many years.  This is presumably not the last good-by, merely the recognition that his work with the Dance Theater of Harlem makes it increasingly unrealistic for Mr. Mitchell to meet his City Ballet commitments” (New York Times, November 28, 1971).


Comes out of retirement to dance his old role in Agon with Allegra Kent at the New York City Ballet’s Stravinsky Festival, June 24.


Appears in the made-for-television film of Agon, again partnering Allegra Kent,  produced by RM Productions, Berlin.

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