Arthur Mitchell, Co-founder of Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dies at 84

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 9/21/2018, 8:45 a.m.
Arthur Mitchell, the trailblazing African-American dancer who called himself "the grandfather of diversity," has died, according to the Dance Theatre ...
Arthur Miller

Arthur Mitchell, the trailblazing African-American dancer who called himself "the grandfather of diversity," has died, according to the Dance Theatre of Harlem's Facebook page. He was 84. Mitchell’s dance career started when a grade school guidance counselor encouraged him to audition for the High School of Performing Arts, which led to a scholarship to the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet. He would later become the first African-American principal dancer in 1962. Of all his accomplishments, he told The Times that he considered the Dance Theatre Of Harlem to be his greatest. Motivated by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mitchell and Karel Shook started the all-black classical ballet company in 1969 in a garage on 152nd Street, according to the company's web site. He remained the artistic director until 2004.