Watch: Arthur Mitchell & DTH on "Mister Rogers Neighborhood" (1987)
The late pioneering dancer Arthur Mitchell was an icon in the dance world—as well as a touchstone in popular culture. Not only did he break boundaries at New York City Ballet, where he performed under Balanchine as a black male principal, but he also went on to co-found Dance Theatre of Harlem. But his international acclaim wasn't limited to the stage: Mitchell and DTH were featured in a special 1987 episode of "Mister Rogers Neighborhood," bringing ballet into living rooms across America.
Luckily, we were able to dig up the footage. Fast-forward to about 3:15 for the start of Mitchell's segment, which includes company rehearsal and classroom visits to two levels of students in DTH's school.The whole 12 minutes is worth the watch, but don't miss these moments:
- Mitchell's pearl of wisdom as he explains the importance of technique class to Mister Rogers: "It's like a pianist must do the scales, everyday. You must practice these exercises everyday."
- Mister Rogers giving ballet a go. Is there anything he won't try? (P.S. His fifth position doesn't disappoint!)
- In DTH's library, Mister Rogers asks if Mitchell was always interested in dance and music. "More or less," he says, before casually explaining that he was admitted to kindergarten at age 3 because he was so passionate about learning.
- The seriously impressive young children rehearsing for their end-of-year recital.
If PBS has the stats, we're dying to know how much ballet enrollment increased after this episode aired. Regardless, Mitchell's mark on the dance world is indelible, and we love how this moment in time was preserved.
The 2019–20 season is here, and with it more performances than any one person could reasonably catch. But fear not: We polled our writers and editors and selected the 31 most promising tickets, adding up to one endlessly intriguing year of dance.
You nominated your favorite dance moments so far in 2019, and we narrowed them down to this list. Now it's time to cast your vote to help decide who will be deemed our Readers' Choice picks for the year!
Voting is open until September 17th. Only one vote per person will be counted.
Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.
Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
We've been dying to hear more about "On Pointe," a docuseries following students at the School of American Ballet, since we first got wind of the project this spring. Now—finally!—we know where this can't-miss show is going to live: It was just announced that Disney+, the new streaming service set to launch November 12, has ordered the series.