- American Negro Ballet Company
- Call number
- Sc MG 519
- Physical description
- 1 folder
- Preferred Citation
- American Negro Ballet Company scrapbook, 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 American Negro Ballet Company scrapbook consists of news clippings and programs about the company founded by Eugene von Grona. Included are reviews of its performances in New York City and in Brighton, England in 1937 and 1938, are programs for the ANB and Lew Leslie's "Blackbirds" of 1939, which featured dances choreographed by von Grona. A program and a news clipping refer to performances honoring the company, 1981 and 1983.
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.
Source of acquisitionGift, Beryl Clarke James, April 1985
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