- Yarborough, Lavinia Williams
- Call number
- Sc MG 659
- Physical description
- .2 linear feet
- Preferred Citation
- Lavinia Williams collection, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library
- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
- Access to materials
- Advance notice required. Request access to this collection.
The collection contains materials such as dance instruction (class) notes and personal correspondence from her daughter, Sara Yarborough as well as general and professional correspondence pertaining to Ballets d'Haiti performances and dance education. Included are two booklets written by Williams. One booklet entitled "Haitian - Dance" focuses on cultural dance and the other commemorates the 20th anniversary of Ballets d'Haiti. This collection also includes a program from a dance performance and documents denoting Ms. Williams' involvement in dance education.
Lavinia Williams (1916-1989) was an African-American dancer, choreographer and teacher. Williams was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and later resided in Brooklyn, New York and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She danced with Katherine Dunham's company as well as appeared in various Broadway musicals such as "Showboat" and "Cabin in the Sky." In 1953, Williams was invited by the Haitian government to establish a dance school in Haiti. She accepted the invitation, and founded the Haitian Institute of Classic and Folklore Dance of which she was the director.
Williams also founded the Ballets d'Haiti dance company. She would later divide her time between Haiti and the United States. During the latter years of her life (in the 1980s), she taught at New York University and the Alvin Ailey Dance School. Like many African-American dancers of her generation, Williams had begun to receive recognition from the younger generation of dancers, scholars, and the general public. The dance tradition continued through Sara Yarborough, Williams' daughter, who was a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Source of acquisitionPurchase, Nicolas, Willy (dealer), 04/11/1999
Using the collection
LocationSchomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037-1801