The ability to dance, create, and share is a passion that Rashaun Mitchell ’96, the 2022 Centennial Hall Fellow, was able to bring to the Concord Academy community on May 18 during his visit to campus. To start, the school gathered for an assembly, where Mitchell spoke on his dance career and presented a video highlighting the dynamics of dance through a 3-D film—Tesseract. This was followed by an improv dance workshop, which attracted students from various dance backgrounds to explore the art of movement through space and sound.
Launching his dance journey at 15 years old, Mitchell reflected on his dance experience at CA and how he applied this knowledge to navigate his professional career. At the time, renovations of the SHAC had yet to be installed, and the old dance studio comprised only a small area where the squash courts now stand. It was in this space that Mitchell explored the artistry dance under the teachings of Amy Spencer and Richard Colton, who served as trustable mentors throughout the years. Mitchell commented, “I was lucky that I had the guidance of Amy and Richard […] for my particular experience and what I was interested in.” After graduating from CA, Mitchell continued his studies at Sarah Lawrence College, a befitting institution, as Spencer had recommended it to him after working with him throughout his high school years.
Beyond dance, Mitchell immerses himself in nature, wanting to capture the underlying beauties around him. Photography, a skill he also picked up during his time at CA, had introduced him to looking at the world through a different lens. He remarked, “[Since both] creat[e] a frame you look through, studying photography and engaging with the idea of capturing nature or capturing moments is similar to choreography.” Balancing his career, Mitchell also mentioned that he loves bird-watching, listening to the wind, and watching leaves change color.
Mitchell taught at New York University for nine years before choosing to give up his job. His times under both an urban and suburban setting exposed him to new perspectives, including taking in the wonders of the natural world. Imagination ties his emotional connections to the people he works with, which he says he expresses through his art.
Conveying messages through various creative outlets, Mitchell has been able to share his work to a greater audience. From showing his love of fantasy novels to mentoring younger and older people alike, he said, “I love what [CA] is and what it has become […] Change is inevitable, but the beautiful community [is what makes this place so special].” While we have seen Mitchell’s virtuosic performance on screen, perhaps we can also be on the lookout for when he publishes his new science fiction novel in the near future!