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Arthur Mitchell has died


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Yes, it's a huge loss. These last few years, I got the feeling that he felt emotionally disconnected from his own marvelous creation, DTH. All he seemed to talk about or at least be asked about by dance writers, was his time at NYCB. 

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A magnificent dancer. Olivia Boisson’s Instagram post sums up the other contributions he made. Very glad Lynn Garafola mounted that exhibit about him this past year, while he could still see it. A legend among legends at City Ballet. RIP.

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Sad news. I am sorry we will not have him around for more years but as Drew says, what a life!

 Always an engaging interview, too, if not necessarily the most reliable of sources.

You are likely right, Tapfan. The interview I link to below certainly suggests that he wasn't close to his old troupe.

 I hope that people who saw him dance in person will write about it here.

An interview from January of this year from the Times by Gia Kourlas.

 

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Because of his closeness with the Russian-born Balanchine, Mr. Mitchell refers to himself as an African-American man raised like an old Russian aristocrat. “My relationship with him was totally different than with the other dancers,” Mr. Mitchell said. “It wasn’t about, ‘What role am I going to dance?’ But ‘What would you like me to do? Use me.’ And he did.”

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When I was a young ballet student my mother took me to see NYCB. Mr. Mitchell was performing in AGON. He possessed an outstanding clarity and brilliance in his movements that I believe that only great dancers have.  (It is something that cannot be taught)   I'm thinking of Alonso, Maximova. Vasiliev,Dowell etc.  You have to experience them live.  You leave the theatre with a much lighter heart. I was very fortunate to see him.   RIP  and thank you Mr. Mitchell.

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4 hours ago, dirac said:

Sad news. I am sorry we will not have him around for more years but as Drew says, what a life!

 Always an engaging interview, too, if not necessarily the most reliable of sources.

You are likely right, Tapfan. The interview I link to below certainly suggests that he wasn't close to his old troupe.

 I hope that people who saw him dance in person will write about it here.

An interview from January of this year from the Times by Gia Kourlas.

 

RIP, Mr. Mitchell. My heart sunk when I read this news today.

I hope he did not pass on poor terms with DTH. He may have just preferred to stay out of the limelight. 

Calling him "unreliable" seems a little harsh. His interviews were always illuminating for me and created a vivid picture of what it was like to be an early Balanchine dancer.

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This news made me terribly sad, especially in the wake of this ghastly situation at NYCB.  

What a beautiful dancer was Mr Mitchell. And his Puck! He makes me laugh every time I watch this clip with his antics. And then at the end, his magnificent grace and power as he defiantly pirouettes, driven for good out of Titania’s fairy bower. 

When SPAC added Balanchine’s and Kirstein’s stars on its Walk of Fame in July 2016, the 50th anniversary year of NYCB at SPAC, many dancers came to pay tribute, among them Jacques d’Amboise, Karin VonAroldingen, Patricia McBride, and Arthur Mitchell.   I wish I could post the picture I took of them to share with you. It was a poignant tribute and a very special day, seeing all those dancers from a golden age, hugging each other and reminiscing. It was a gathering of Titans!  I’m sure they are all very sad at Mr Mitchell‘s passing, Suzanne Farrell, as well. 

Rest in Peace, Mr Mitchell. We will miss you and remember your grace and style, your beautiful smile and your great contributions to ballet and dance. 

Edited by KarenAG
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18 hours ago, Olga said:

A magnificent dancer. Olivia Boisson’s Instagram post sums up the other contributions he made. Very glad Lynn Garafola mounted that exhibit about him this past year, while he could still see it. A legend among legends at City Ballet. RIP.

Olivia’s Instagram post made me tear up. 

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Here are KarenAG's photos from Saratoga:

The original, George Balanchine's star, Lincoln Kirstein's star.

Does anyone know who the unidentified people are?  

L-R:  Peter Martins, [man in beige suit]*, Robert Maiorano, [man standing behind],  Miranda Weese, Patricia McBride, Karin von Aroldingen, Suki Shorer, Jacques d'Amboise, Arthur Mitchell

*edited to fix.

Many thanks KarenAG!

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Thank you, Helene. I appreciate your adding my pics. 

As I look at this again, I think the man behind everyone is perhaps an emcee. The man in the white suit is Robert Maiorano. But I don’t know who is standing next to Peter Martins (beige/tan suit). 

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