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 Theatre 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 five months until 1938. In 1939 the company was reborn as "Von Grona's American Swing Ballet".[1]


  1. 1 2 3 p.111 Moving Words: Re-writing Dance by Gay Morris, Psychology Press, 1996 Google Books retrieved July 4, 2011
  2. Martin, John (November 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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