Bernard Johnson

New York Negro Ballet

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Bernard Johnson was born in Detroit where he began his ballet training and professional career. As a member of the New York Negro Ballet Mr. Johnson was not only a dancer but also a costume designer. Bernard Johnson and his former wife Cleo Quitman, also a member of the New York Negro Ballet, toured the continent performing a blues and African act that they put together. He also appeared in Aubrey Hitchins Negro Dance Theatre in 1956. Bernard Johnson also spent time dedicated to Broadway, Apollo, City Center and other productions as a dancer, co-director, choreographer, and costume designer. Some of these productions include “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”, “Fiorella”, “Showboat”, and “Ain’t Suppose to Die a Natural Death”. Mr. Johnson became known as a fashion designer in the early 1970’s followed by a busy career in recent years as a costume designer for theatre, dance and film. Mr. Johnson designed costumes for the New York City Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, the Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Hispanico and several small modern dance companies. His films included the 1990-91 ”New Jack City,” and his television credits included costumes for ”The Merv Griffin Show,” and specials for Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne. He created stage wardrobes for Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, the Isley Brothers, Ashford and Simpson, and many rock and jazz musicians, as well as for shows by Judy Garland and Josephine Baker. Mr. Johnson was a member of the Black Film Makers Hall of Fame.

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