Skip to main content

History in the Making:Trailblazer Arthur Mitchell

It was an honor and privilege to witness Founder and Senior Director of Dance Theater of Harlem Company + School, Arthur Mitchell in action at the Wallach Art Gallery in New York City.

A special exhibition hosted by the Lenfest Center for the Arts celebrates his life and career as New York City Ballet's first African American star and his contribution to the Black History by introducing the first Classical Ballet Company for people of Color.

The panels were adorned with images, billboards, newspapers, and writings from Mr. Mitchell himself.
On this day, the man himself makes an appearance for a group of young students who have come to tour the exhibit and experience history.

What he is doing is quite magical. Accompanied by his assistant--loyal company member of Dance Theatre of Harlem Paunika Jones who brings his world to life. She explains what is to means to wear pointe shoes or"toe shoes" as Mr. Mitchell describes it as she wraps each ribbon carefully around her ankle. They proceed to partner, Mr. Mitchell holding the dainty ballerina, her hand in his as the students circle around them.

The tour continues as a virtual experience, where Paunika flutters around (burre` on releve) the gallery while Arthur Mitchell describes his life in times as dancer in detail.

In the end, I had the pleasure of presenting myself as one of his students, as I trained under the DTH Residency Program in Washington DC as a young girl, during the panel discussion/ Q & A. He was pleased with how I presented myself and spoke in confidence. And special turn of events indeed, going from an onlooker to a participant. That's the life of an Artist--always ready to be a part of something new.

Whomever Mr. Mitchell addresses--he commands the space, authority and excellence. At over 80 years old, he doesn't miss a beat. His vision is sharp and his mind is clear. He emphasizes the importance of the youth having confidence, projecting their voice and carrying a strong presence....no matter who you are or what you do.

The tour ended with his signature por de bras for dancers (carriage of the arms): GIVE, TAKE, SHOW.


Thank You to the Wallach Gallery for hosting this event and showcasing the life of Arthur Mitchell.
Thank You to all those who continue his legacy of excellence at the DTH school and in the company.
Thank You to all those who who have been influenced by his contribution to history are inspired to do great things for the next generation.

It truly was an honor.








This second exhibit presentation is followed by this day, the Birthday of Tiffany Glen.
A Ballerina of Color of San Jose Ballet, from Washington DC who passed away from Breast Cancer in 2012.
You are always in our hearts Tiffany!


 Image result for tiffany glenn dancer  Image result for tiffany glenn dancer


Post Written by Kayla Harley



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yes, Work, Get Your LIFE. Street/Dance Workshop Jacob's Pillow 2020 NYC

My Life at the Pillow..." ~by JR Glover Today was a Pillow Day. As an Alumni, I traveled North to help facilitate and support the Recruitment Tour amidst other beautiful dancing bodies. It's amazing to see how we have all grown through the years as Dancers, Creatives, Choreographers, Directors and lifelong students. Even more, it's inspiring to know that we are all keeping at it--pursuing Excellence and honing our craft day by day. What was meant to be a standby experience turned out to be a Full Dance Day for me. I give thanks to my peers who encouraged me to dance. It was a risk--knowing that I had not danced or taken a technique class proper in several months. However, due to the nature of GYROKINESIS as an instructor, I never lost body awareness, posture, alignment etc. So it was just a matter of tipping over the edge again to see where my body goes....and catching it again. It was a necessary challenge in fact, with the chronic pain of Trigeminal Neuralgia and C

Dance Our Legacy Scholarship Fundraiser Event: All Day of Dance Support the Next Generation

Dance: Our Legacy Saturday October 6, 2018 Bowie Performing Arts Center (9am - 1pm) Workshops $Pay as You Can, Donation Based (7 - 9pm) Evening Performance $10 Tickets Tickets on sale NOW! https://www.tix.com/ Event.aspx?EventCode=1095259 All of the proceeds will go towards the building of a Scholarship Fund Featured Performers: The Conway Academy Neema Dance Collective The Collectif Project AfroTempo: AfroDance Revolution Release Dance Company Divine Dance Institute Future Destiny Dancers Jyla Dance Studio The Dance:Our Legacy Scholarship is the first of many announcements that our Dance Community is one of Spirit, Integrity, Achievement, and Excellence. We are coming together so that our children can witness the power of a collective effort. We place our imprint on the greater Dance Community by raising our voices so that the echo can be heard from now and for generations to come. All of the proceeds collec

Keeping Dance Alive, St. Croix Arts Community Outreach

 In 2017, I was at home in Washington DC bedridden and removed from everything that I knew.  My life as a Dancer as I knew it....was no longer. I could barely walk, performing menial tasks around the house was a burden for me. I often felt faint and dizzy. My nervous system had taken a hard hit from the brutal cold winter of Chicago. The winds  shook my bones and my days of job hunting, street performing in the Chicago O'Hare Airport for bills and just aimlessly walking in the snow drove my body into a state of shock. PH. D Chenzira Davis Kahina & Ms. Charlita Charlita Schuster,  great friends discussing a paining in the UVI Cultural Center After my last gig as a Broadway Dancer, there was nothing more for me in the Windy City. I'd returned home with question in my mind and heart as to how I would move forward. I was diagnoses with a rare chronic pain condition, Trigeminal Neuralgia. The International Association for Blacks in Dance had just revamped its organization, was g