Janet Collins joins with Metropolitan Opera Ballet


Janet Collins makes her Metropolitan Opera debut on November 13th, 1951 as the premier dancer in the opera Aida.  The choreographer was Zachary Solov and Aida had 27 performances that season.

She studied classical ballet as well as modern and ethnic dance, and her career reflected her versatility. At age 15 she auditioned for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo but declined an offer when told she would have to disguise the fact that she was black. She first performed as a theatrical dancer in 1940 and had her first solo recital in New York City in 1949. Collins appeared in the Cole Porter musical Out of This World (1950–51), receiving the Donaldson Award for best Broadway dancer. In 1952, a year after joining she became the first African American dancer to join the Metropolitan Opera Company.


Janet Collins






Other Happenins in 1951


American History:

March 6; The trial of Julius Rosenberg and his wife Ethel Rosenberg begins

•May 3, Congressional hearings on General MacArthur begins

•July 9; US President Harry Truman asks Congress to formally end state of war with Germany


World History:

•February 11; Kwame Nkrumah wins 1st parliamentary election in the Gold Coast (Ghana)

•July 20, King Abdullah of Jordan is assassinated

Arts and Sciences:

•February  3; Tennessee Williams’ “Rose Tattoo” premieres in NYC
February  28; 8th Golden Globes: Sunset Boulevard, Jose Ferrer, & Gloria Swanson win
March 27; Frank Sinatra records “I’m a Fool to Want You”
March  29; “King & I” opens at St James Theater NYC for 1246 performances
July  28;  Walt Disney’s animated musical film “Alice In Wonderland” released
August  26; “An American in Paris” with music by George Gershwin, directed by Vincente    Minnelli and starring Gene Kelly and •Leslie Caron premieres in London (Best Picture 1952)
October  15; “I Love Lucy”, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, debuts on CBS

Human and Civil Rights:

•February 16; NYC passes bill prohibiting racism in city-assisted housing
May 24;  Racial segregation in Wash DC restaurants ruled illegal



•February  14; Sugar Ray Robinson defeats Jake LaMotta & takes middleweight title
May 25;  NY Giant Willie Mays 1st major league game
May 30;  Ezzard Charles beats Joey Maxim in 15 for heavyweight boxing title
June  15; Joe Louis scored his last knockout victory
July  18; Jersey Joe Walcott at 37 becomes oldest to win heavyweight champion
November  1; Brooklyn Dodger catcher Roy Campanella wins the 1st of his 3 NL MVPs

Leave a Reply