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.

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Courtesy Ava Noble

Go Behind the Scenes of USC Kaufman’s Virtual Dance Festival

Now more than ever, the students of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance are embodying their program's vision: "The New Movement."

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, the dance world continues to be faced with unprecedented challenges, but USC Kaufman's faculty and BFA students haven't shied away from them. While many schools have had to cancel events or scale them back to live-from-my-living-room streams, USC Kaufman has embraced the situation and taken on impressive endeavors, like expanding its online recruitment efforts.

November 1 to 13, USC Kaufman will present A/Part To/Gather, a virtual festival featuring world premieres from esteemed faculty and guest choreographers, student dance films and much more. All semester long, they've rehearsed via Zoom from their respective student apartments or hometowns. And they haven't solely been dancing. "You have a rehearsal process, and then a filming process, and a production process of putting it together," says assistant professor of practice Jennifer McQuiston Lott of the prerecorded and professionally edited festival.

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