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Arthur Mitchell, Pioneering Black Ballet Dancer, Dies at 84

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Arthur Mitchell, who broke barriers for African-Americans in the 1950s as a ballet dancer with the New York City Ballet and who would go on to become a driving force in the creation of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, has died.

NEW YORK (AP) — Arthur Mitchell, who broke barriers for African-Americans in the 1950s as a ballet dancer with the New York City Ballet and who would go on to become a driving force in the creation of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, has died. He was 84.

Mitchell died Wednesday at a New York City hospital according to his niece, Juli Mills-Ross. She said the death came after renal failure led to heart failure.

Born in Harlem, Mitchell started dancing with the New York City Ballet in 1955 under famed choreographer George Balanchine.

Balanchine put him in several leading roles, including one pairing him with a white female dancer in “Agon” in 1957.

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