The Talk are scenes of black parents openly sharing truths about bias their children will experience. The conversations we have but don’t want to… Continue reading

1/30/18 O&A NYC INSPIRATIONAL TUESDAY: How a High School Coach Changed Dwayne Johnson’s Life

As a high school student, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson started getting into trouble. He was arrested for everything from fighting and stealing to forging checks, but Dwayne says he began to change his ways when he was 16 years old.  Continue reading

1/26/18 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: An Afternoon With Arthur Mitchell

By Walter Rutledge

I believe that children are our future;
Teach them well and let them lead the way.
Show them all the beauty they possess inside.
Give them a sense of pride,
To make it easier;
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be. George Benson- The Greatest  

This is the opening stanza for George Benson’s The Greatest written for the 1977 biopic of the same title about Muhammad Ali. It is also the music and title of a duet choreographed by Arthur Mitchell for Dance Theatre Of Harlem, and in many ways it remains Mitchell’s credo. An Afternoon with Arthur Mitchell presented at the Lenfest Center for the Arts, Columbia University on Saturday, January 20, 2018 was an opportunity to see a master teacher, director, educator and showman in action.

 After a short introduction Mitchell and percussionist Baba Don Eaton Lenfest Center for the Arts, Columbia University proceeded to teach the audience a series of polyrhythmic music passages. The highlight was a rare screening of the dance documentary (1973), featuring Mitchell’s ballet Rhythmetron, and a fledgling Dance Theatre of Harlem. Most of the film took place in the basement of the Church of the Master, the home of his first school at 81 Morningside Avenue.

Throughout the film Mitchell shares his gift of dance with the charm, confidence and authority that has become his trademark. He masterfully used popular social dances as a bridge to ballet. Mitchell made classic ballet less foreign and more accessible to the young audience from the Harlem community. It was wonderful seeing a performance by the original cast of Rhythmetron; which featured Lydia Abarca, Yvonne Hall, Virginia Johnson, Ronald Perry and Walter Raines.

Following the film Mitchell took questions from the audience, which included balletomanes, dance history enthusiasts and young dancers from Harlem School Of The Arts and Dance Theatre Of Harlem. At 83 years old Mitchell displayed the same vigor, charisma and irrepressible wit we had seen earlier in the film. Always “Mr. Mitchell”, he shared anecdotes, offered advice, and even corrected deportment with an uncompromising paternal demeanor.

An Afternoon With Arthur Mitchell

In her book Page by Page author Ruth Page has a chapter entitled Father Mitchell 1972. Page writes: “Arthur Mitchell is a person with no vices. He doesn’t smoke or drink, and eats a lot of ice cream. He works very hard and is truly a splendid example for young dancers. He is really a sort of Sir Galahad.”

For more information about the Wallach Art Gallery and the Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer exhibition and related events visit wallach.columbia.edu. 

Upcoming events include:

Wallach Gallery Talks
Saturday January 27, 2018 1:00 – 1:30PM
Learn more about key works in the Arthur Mitchell archive from different perspectives. All talks begin at 1 pm and meet in the Wallach Art Gallery lobby on the 6th floor. Lynn Garafola, exhibition curator and Professor Emerita of Dance, Barnard College, Columbia University.

Wallach Family Afternoon
Saturday February 10, 2018 1:00 – 3:00PM
An afternoon of storytelling, art-making and movement for families to enjoy together.

Discussion with former dancers from the Dance Theatre of Harlem
Saturday  February 24, 2018, 1pm

For more information about the Wallach Art Gallery and the Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer exhibition and related events visit wallach.columbia.edu. 






1/16/18 O&A NYC INSPIRATIONAL TUESDAY: Forget Your New Years Resolution- Prince Ea

At the end of the year, everyone always reflects and set new goals for the year ahead. After a few months, a majority of those people forget their New Year Resolutions and fall into old patterns. Are you one of them? There are also those who never even try to rise above or try to aim for anything. Are you one of them? In this video, I share my thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions. Continue reading

1/9/18 O&A NYC INSPIRATIONAL TUESDAY: When God Says No- Inky Johnson Turns Tragedy into Triumph

Inky Johnson, safety University of Tennessee, was on track for a first-round NFL draft pick; but a life-changing injury that left his right arm paralyzed. Continue reading

1/8/17 O&A NYC DANCE: Arthur Mitchell And Anna Kisselgoff Discuss Agon And More

Arthur Mitchell discusses Agon with New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff. Also bonus clip of Diane Adams and Arthur Mitchell in Agon pas de deux.  Continue reading

1/7/18 O&A NYC DANCE: Agon- New York City Ballet (1960)

Agon– the complete ballet with the original cast featuring Diana Adams, Todd Bolender, Jillana,  Arthur Mitchell, Richard Rapp, Francia Russell, Roy Tobias, and Violette Verdy.  Continue reading

1/2/17 O&A NYC INSPIRATIONAL TUESDAY: Akeelah And The Bee – Deepest Fear

Our Deepest Fears, a poem by Marianne Williamson has been quoted by many humanitarians including Nelson Mandela. In the film Akeelah and The Bee Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer) recites the poem at the request of for coach  Dr. Joshua Larabee (Laurence Fishburne). Continue reading

12/26/17 O&A NYC INSPIRATIONAL TUESDAY: ADUMU- Inspirational Animation by Adam Temple & Sheridan

A Young R.U.F. boy discovers the true meaning of ‘being a man’ through an encounter with a young Masai warrior…and a lion. Continue reading

12/12/17 O&A NYC INSPIRATIONAL TUESDAY: Tracee Ellis Ross Tells The Most Epic Stories About Her Mom

Black-ish star and Emmy nominee Tracee Ellis Ross shares the most epic stories about her mom, Diana Ross, with W Magazine. From stealing Diana’s clothes to going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris for her 18th birthday, Tracee relishes the experiences with supermodels, designers, unforgettable fashion shows and her diva mother. Ross also chats about her first auditions, lessons learned, and landing her role as Rainbow Johnson. Continue reading