Arthur Mitchell is promoted to Principal of New York City Ballet


Arthur Mitchell becomes the first black principal in the history of New York City Ballet and is cast as Puck in George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


On January 17th, 1962, George Balanchine’s ballet A Midsummer Night’s Dream premiered with Arthur Mitchell as the mischievous wood nymph Puck. Based off of William Shakespeare’s whimsical 1596 play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Balanchine captures the fantastical yet realistic display of human nature. The ballet, with a score by Felix Mendelssohn, was his first original evening ballet he choreographed in America. The premier of A Midsummer Night’s Dream commenced during the first annual benefit gala for the New York City Ballet.


Original Cast: Suki Schorer, Arthur Mitchell, Jillana, Edward Villella, Melissa Hayden, Conrad Ludlow, Roland Vazquez, Francisco Moncion, Patricia McBride, Nicholas Magallanes, Bill Carter, Gloria Govrin, Violette Verdy


See :


Arthur Mitchell


Other Happenings in 1962



  • Feb 14: President JFK authorizes U.S. advisors in Vietnam to retaliate if fired upon
  • June 11: 3 inmates at Alcatraz island successfully breakout in the infamous “Escape from Alcatraz”
  • Oct 22: The Cuban Missile Crisis begins between the USA and Cuba
  • Oct 28: The Cuban Missile Crisis ends



  • Feb 27: South Vietnamese President Diem survives another coup attempt during the Vietnam War
  • May 31: The “Architect of the Holocaust” Adolf Eichmann is executed for war crimes against humanity
  • Aug 5: The US, Soviet Union, and Great Britain sign the Limited Nuclear Ban Treaty to prohibit nuclear testing in outer space, underwater, or the atmosphere


Arts and Sciences

  • Feb:20 Astronaut John Hershel Glenn Jr made the first orbital flight by an American on the Friendship spacecraft
  • Dec 25: The film To Kill a Mockingbird based off of the 1960 novel of the same name premieres
  • Oct 1: Johnny Carson takes over from Jack Paar as the new host of The Tonight Show
  • Oct 24: James Brown records his iconic album Live at the Apollo album


Human and Civil Rights

  • Mar 18: France and the Front de Liberation Nationale sign a peace treaty ending the Algerian War and 130 years of French colonization in Algeria
  • Sept 30: After a legal battle, black student James H. Meredith is escorted on the University of •Mississippi campus which sparks riots
  • Nov 6: The U.N. condemns apartheid in South Africa
  • Nov 20: President JFK issues Executive Order 11063, which called for an end of housing discrimination



  • Mar 2: Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points in a single contest beating out his previous record
  • Sept 10: Rod Laver is the first man to win the Grand Slam in the same year since 1938

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