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American Negro Ballet Company

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Title: American Negro Ballet Company  
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Subject: African-American dance, Chicago stepping, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Léon Theremin, Tap dance
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American Negro Ballet Company

The American Negro Ballet Company formed in 1934 under the auspices of Eugene Von Grona, a German immigrant. Originally composed of thirty African-American jazz dancers, the company focused on serious modern dance. Lavinia Williams and Al Bledger were lead dancers.[1]


The poorly-reviewed debut performance on November 21, 1937, was conducted by Dean Dixon. It was held at the Lafayette Theater in Harlem, New York.[2] Von Grona was the main choreographer for pieces by Igor Stravinsky, Duke Ellington and W. C. Handy, among others.[1]

Failure and Reformation

The company only lasted 5 months until 1938. In 1939 the company was reborn as "Von Grona's American Swing Ballet".[1]


  1. ^ a b c p.111 Moving Words: Re-writing Dance by Gay Morris, Psychology Press, 1996 Google Books retrieved July 4, 2011
  2. ^ Martin, John (Nov 22, 1937). "NEGRO BALLET HAS DEBUT IN HARLEM: Company Directed by Eugene von Grona in a Program of His Compositions". New York Times. p. 15. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 

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