My soul hurts... Today the we lost a hero, a fearless pioneer, a true monarch and beacon that shown brilliantly through some of this country's darkest times; his name was Arthur Mitchell.
He was and is the patriarch of people of color in the ballet world! Through his talent and the foresight of the genius George Balanchine, Mr. Mitchell became not only the first black principal dancer in the New York City Ballet, but the first black principal dancer with any major company!
As many of you know, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. prompted Mr. Mitchell to create something that could provide hope to those whose hope had all but disappeared. A rose blooming from the concrete of the Harlem streets; Dance Theatre of Harlem. In DTH Mr. Mitchell created a world class company that impacted countless lives in Harlem and the world over. He boldly affirmed that beauty can and DOES come in all shades of melanin rich skin! He opened the door through which generations have followed, including myself. While yet more doors remain, his example and legacy bolster our fortitude to break all the barriers placed before us!
While we may be traversing a new era than the one Mr. Mitchell danced in, it is still rife with much of the same hatred and misunderstanding that led to the assassination of Dr. King. It is now up to us; those that Mr. Mitchell's life has touched to continue his legacy of artistry, affirmation, inclusion, and inspiration!
I'll never forget how amazingly powerful it was to go to DTH for the summer! The feeling of not being the only brown skinned person (or one of maybe 4) at a summer program of 100 kids. Even then in 2003, it was incredibly empowering!
Most importantly though, I will never forget the time that I spent working with Mr. Mitchell; our phone conversations, and everything I have learned from Mr. Mitchell!
My mentor always!
R.I.P. Mr. Mitchell!
#brooklynmack #arthurmitchell #kingarthur #pioneer #hero #patriarch #legend #founder #dancetheatreofharlem #newyorkcityballet #first #black #principaldancer #ballet #mentor #mymentor #alwaysapartofme #livingon #throughus