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President's Cabinet Award



Arthur Mitchell has electrified audiences around the world since beginning his professional dance career with the New York City Ballet in 1955.  First recognized as a talent in junior high, he studied at the School of American Ballet following graduation from New York City’s High School of Performing Arts.  Mitchell rose quickly to the position of premier danseur with the New York City Ballet following his debut in “Western Symphony.”  The first black dancer in the nation to become a permanent member of a major classical ballet company, he stayed with the City Ballet for 15 years, performing between seasons with the William Dollar Ballet Theatre Workshop, in musical revivals of “Carmen Jones” and “Kiss Me, Kate” and on several television shows.  In 1966, after he had formed an interracial dance company which performed at the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Italy, he organized and became director of the American Dance Company, which was slated to participate in the first World Festival of Negro Art in Dakar, Senegal.  Shortly thereafter, he was asked by the U.S. government to create the national Ballet Company of Brazil.  He traveled back and forth between Brazil and the United States until the assassination of Martin Luther King moved him to return to the United States and devote his life to enriching the lives of others. In 1969, with financial assistance from the Ford Foundation and his friends, he founded The Dance Theatre of Harlem.  He has received numerous awards, starting with the High School of Performing Arts Annual Dance Award in 1951 (the first time the award was given to a male graduate), and more recently the Ebony (Magazine) American Black Achievement Award in January, 1983.

Award was presented at the President’s Cabinet Annual Awards Dinner, April 30, 1983.

University of Detroit

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