The following is from the November 27, 2006, edition of The Dallas Morning News.
By MARGARET PUTNAM
Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
See Arthur Mitchell conducting a master class at SMU.
FORT WORTH -- "Look at me! Look at me!" Arthur Mitchell cries. Forty-four heads turn. The angle is perfect, chins raised just so, all eyes peering directly at Mr. Mitchell.
His presence is electrifying. What might have been an ordinary ballet class segues into theater as he coaxes students away from concentrating on technique to focus on drama. "Make a mystery, a novel of intrigue," he tells dancers as they extend their legs in developpé.
Mr. Mitchell is undeniably a great teacher, but he also is at SMU to launch a new partnership between the Meadows School and his Harlem endeavors.
Two years ago his beloved company folded, swamped in debt and leaving 44 dancers to scatter across the globe. The company's plight captured the attentions of SMU students in the Meadows division of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. They had just finished a project with Southwest Airlines. They wondered: Why can't we help the Dance Theatre of Harlem?
The project will get under way in January and run through August, with the last three months spent in New York City.
Faculty oversee the project, but 10 students are the staff of the Mustangconsulting group, which will develop communication strategies and campaigns to help the Dance Theatre of Harlem reach a wider audience.
"We want to communicate the uniqueness of Dance Theatre of Harlem," explains assistant professor Maria Dixon. "We want to reach the iPod generation, to draw them into a love affair with the arts.
# # #