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Dance News: The First Black Ballerina, Janet Collins at 100: A Special Birthday Celebration

Dance News: The First Black Ballerina, Janet Collins at 100: A Special Birthday Celebration

Published on February 22, 2017

Carmen de Lavallade, George Faison, Raven Wilkinson, Gary Chryst and Ernesta Corvino Join Celebration

This Black History Month, share a special moment in dance history as the first African-American prima ballerina turns 100! Attend Janet Collins at 100: A Special Birthday Celebration at NYC's Rizzoli Bookstore on Thursday, March 2, 2017 to join other dance enthusiasts in a celebration of her life and legacy.


About Janet Collins, the first African-American prima ballerina:

Dancer Janet Collins, born in New Orleans in 1917 and raised in Los Angeles, soared high over the color line as the first African-American prima ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera. Night’s Dancer chronicles the life of this extraordinary and elusive woman, who became a unique concert dance soloist as well as a black trailblazer in the white world of classical ballet. During her career, Collins endured an era in which racial bias prevailed, and subsequently prevented her from appearing in the South. Nonetheless, her brilliant performances transformed the way black dancers were viewed in ballet.

Controversial newsclip about Collins' rise to stardom.

The distinguished dance panel includes: 

  • Carmen de Lavallade, noted performer and Janet Collins's first cousin 
  • George Faison, choreographer of the original production of The Wiz 
  • Raven Wilkinson, the first African-American ballerina at the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo 
  • Gary Chryst, Joffrey Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater 3 alumnus
  • Ernesta Corvino, international teacher and ballet master 

The event will be moderated by Yaël Tamar Lewin, author of Night's Dancer: The Life of Janet Collins. For more about Night’s Dancer (winner of the 2012 Marfield Prize), please click here

Janet Collins.

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