American Negro Ballet Company

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.


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2016-08-11 10:08:31 pm

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2016-08-11 10:08:31 pm

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