MacArthur Fellows Program

Arthur Mitchell

Choreographer | Class of 1994

New York, New York
60 at time of award
September 19, 2018
Area of Focus
Choreography and Dance
Published July 1, 1994

About Arthur's Work

Arthur Mitchell, a dancer, a choreographer, and an educator, is the co-founder and artistic director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Mitchell left his dance career at its peak to found the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) in 1969, a multicultural company that brings innovative and bold new forms of artistic expression to audiences in New York City, across the country, and around the world.  Mitchell’s vision and leadership have created a place where young dancers—most of whom receive financial assistance from DTH—can receive top-level training.  The Dance Theatre of Harlem School, whose graduates have gone on to dance with major companies around the world, continues to provide opportunity and fulfill dreams for inner-city youth by offering training to more than 1,000 young people annually through preprofessional and professional programs.


Mitchell, the first African American to become a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet (1952-69), received great acclaim for two roles choreographed especially for him by the late George Balanchine, the “Pas de Deux” from Agon and “Puck” in a Midsummer Night’s Dream.  His career also includes performances in film, television, and on Broadway.

Mitchell began his dance training at New York City’s High School of the Performing Arts.

Last updated January 1, 2005

Select News Coverage of Arthur Mitchell
September 19, 2018
"Arthur Mitchell Is Dead at 84; Showed the Way for Black Dancers"
The New York Times
Arthur Mitchell , 1994 MacArthur Fellow
January 5, 2018
"Arthur Mitchell, Ballet’s ‘Grandfather of Diversity’"
The New York Times
Arthur Mitchell , 1994 MacArthur Fellow
January 1, 2016
"Arthur Mitchell: Giving Back to the Community"
National Endowment for the Arts
Arthur Mitchell , 1994 MacArthur Fellow
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