Cleo Quitman

New York Negro Ballet
American Ballet Theatre: Guest
Joffrey Ballet: Guest

Theodore Duncan, Cleo Quitman, and Michel de Lutry with the New York Negro Ballet

Cleo Quitman studied ballet with Sofia Tsoulkas in her native Detroit where Tsoulkas taught Black students separately. In 1954 Quitman came to New York when she was 17 with intentions to enroll at the School of American Ballet. However, her entry was declined because it was mid-year/mid-season. Thus, she found herself training under the instruction of Mattie Gabor and Alfredo Corvino at the Metropolitan Opera School. Later Charles Neal would recommend her to Maria Nevelska, former member of the Bolshoi Ballet. Under Mme. Nevelska’s instruction, Quitman would later become one of the original six members of the New York Negro Ballet. Quitman later appeared as a guest artist with the American Ballet Theatre in Agnes De Mille’s The Four Marys (1961) and with the Joffrey Ballet in Eugene Loring’s These Three (1966). Quitman and Bernard Johnson put together a blues African act and toured the continent with it for two years.



See also:

Cleo Quitman: Girl On Her Toes (article)

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