China White is teaching students at her private studio in Columbus, Ohio. Having been a dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, White has been imparting the same lessons of the co-founder Arthur Mitchell. Arthur Mitchell broke the color barrier by performing classical ballet, and remains influential to the Africana classical dance community. His theatre gave young children an opportunity to learn about dance and the arts. He was able to visit White’s private studio and interact with some of her students. Mitchell unfortunately passed away this past September, but White’s own tutelage provides an opportunity to continue his lessons and influence. White continues the legacy of providing a space for Africana dancers, and a community of role models for them.
The Dance Theatre of Harlem’s founding was a groundbreaking undertaking that was founded by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook in 1969. It’s providing of a community for those with a passion for dance, and a focus on racial diversity, helps to break the prototype of the white classical ballet artist. By inserting this image of a successful, expressive, and high-quality institution of multi-cultural dancers, the Dance Theatre of Harlem is changing the schemas of what a ballet dancer looks like, and gives young Africana children people who they can see themselves in. I think it’s awesome that such a thing exists, and is able to provide an opportunity for these children.