American Negro Ballet Company

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The American Negro Ballet Company was formed by Eugene von Grona in 1934. Von Grona, a modern dancer trained by German choreographer Mary Wigman, immigrated to the United States in 1925. He formed the ANB, composed of thirty African-American dancers, among them Lavinia Williams and Al Bledger, to showcase their talents as serious dance artists capable of more than jazz dancing.

The American Negro Ballet Company debuted at Harlem's Lafayette Theater on November 21, 1937. The company's original program, conducted by Dean Dixon, included Stravinsky's "Firebird" as well as pieces choreographed by von Grona to the music of Duke Ellington and W.C. Handy. The premier was a critical and popular success however, the American Negro Ballet Company survived for barely a year before its demise in 1938. Von Grona re-formed the company as "Von Grona's American Swing Ballet" in 1939, when they appeared in producer Lew Leslie's "Blackbirds" as well as other venues.

From the description of American Negro Ballet Company scrapbook, 1937-1983 (bulk 1937-1938) (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 186496948

The American Negro Ballet Company was formed by Eugene von Grona in 1934. Von Grona, a modern dancer trained by German choreographer Mary Wigman, immigrated to the United States in 1925. He formed the ANB, composed of thirty African-American dancers, among them Lavinia Williams and Al Bledger, to showcase their talents as serious dance artists capable of more than jazz dancing.

The American Negro Ballet Company debuted at Harlem's Lafayette Theater on November 21, 1937. The company's original program, conducted by Dean Dixon, included Stravinsky's "Firebird" as well as pieces choreographed by von Grona to the music of Duke Ellington and W.C. Handy. The premier was a critical and popular success however, the American Negro Ballet Company survived for barely a year before its demise in 1938. Von Grona re-formed the company as "Von Grona's American Swing Ballet" in 1939, when they appeared in producer Lew Leslie's "Blackbirds" as well as other venues.

From the guide to the American Negro Ballet Company scrapbook, 1937-1983, 1937-1938, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Flemyng, Ward. [Programs] New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
creatorOf American Negro Ballet Company. [Programs]. New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
creatorOf American Negro Ballet Company scrapbook, 1937-1983, 1937-1938 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
creatorOf American Negro Ballet Company. American Negro Ballet Company scrapbook, 1937-1983 (bulk 1937-1938) New York Public Library System, NYPL
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bassae, Antony. person
associatedWith Flemyng, Ward. person
associatedWith Gordon, Marvin. person
associatedWith Grona, Eugene van. person
associatedWith Hancock, Theodore. person
associatedWith Hill, Thelma, 1924-1977. person
associatedWith Johnson, Louis. person
associatedWith Tadlock, Tad. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
Dance, Black
Dance companies--United States
African Americans in the performing arts
Ballet dancers--United States
Ballet dancers
African American dance
Dancers--United States
Ballet companies--United States
Dance companies
Dancers
Ballet companies
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1937

Active 1983

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