Due to racial issues, it becomes an unusual issue in the history of African-American ballerinas in American ballet. But about a half-century ago the ballet world changed its look although the world of ballet was a rarity because many of them are short of the opportunity to participate in the art and culture.
Black dancers became able to fit into rebellious dance, practicing Graham, Limón, and Horton. They also managed to stay factual to their methods and commit to making a mark in the American ballet industry.
Not only is Black History Month, we believe in celebrating Black voices, Black art, and Black women 365 days of the year.
Anne Raven Wilkinson was the first African-American woman to dance for a major classical ballet company. She signed a contract to dance full-time with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and made history. She was promoted to soloist with the troupe and remained with the company for six years. Wilkinson later became a mentor to American Ballet Theatre as a principal dancer.
Janet Collins was an African American ballet dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She performed on Broadway, in films. She was also regular on television. She was the inventor of black ballet dancing, one of the few classically trained Black dancers of her generation.
Debra Austin who is born in born July 25, 1955, is an American ballet dancer. She made design to prominence in 1982. She was promoted to the rank of principal dancer at Pennsylvania Ballet, making her the first African-American female principal dancer of a major American ballet company. She was also the first African-American female dancer at the New York City Ballet. She currently serves as the ballet mistress for the Carolina Ballet.
This American ballet dancer and a former principal dancer with the Houston Ballet. In 1990, she was one of the first African-American ballerinas to become a principal for a major dance company. She appeared in many ballets such as Don Quixote, Cleopatra, and The Nutcracker. She retired from the Houston Ballet in 2006.
Aminah L. Ahmad
This Muslim ballet dancer was the first African-American dancer at Radio City Music Hall Ballet Company. She was the first African-American female dancer at the National Ballet of Washington. She was a member and former principal dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem. She retired from dancing upon her conversion to Islam.