John Jones leaves Jerome Robbins’ Ballet U.S.A.

John Jones leaves legendary choreographer Jerome Robbins’ short-lived company Ballet U.S.A. (1956-1962).

John Jones and Delores Brown

Prolific dancer John Jones left Jerome Robbins’ ballet company Ballet U.S.A. in 1968. One of his most notable performances was his pas de deux in Passage for Two with white dancer Wilma Curley—an interracial pairing which was unheard of. He was also noted for his performance in Robbins’ Age of Anxiety ballet in the section “An Entertainment.”

See also:

John Jones, IBDB
Leaping a Generation Gap to Revive a Robbins Ballet, New York Times
Jerome Robbins, New York City Ballet
Ballets: U.S.A. records, New York Public Library





 Keith Lee joins American Ballet Theatre

Keith Lee, a native New Yorker, graduated from the High School of Performing Arts and studied at Harkness House for Ballet Arts, which was sponsored by heiress Rebekah Harkness. He joined the American Ballet Theatre in 1968.

Keith Lee’s repertoire included the choreography of such luminaries as Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine, Agnes DeMille, Lar Lubovitch, and Jerome Robbins. Lee was able to perform in ballets such as George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations and Etudes. Prolific choreographer Antony Tudor left a profound effect on Lee as a mentor and cast him in the fifth variation of Dark Elegies.  


Photo of Keith Lee
New Strides for Black Dancers, Washington Post

Other Happenings in 1968

Ballet/Dance History

Feb: Ward Fleming, founder of Ballet Americana/New York Negro Ballet, performs in West Side Story in Vienna, Austria.

American History

Jan 22: Apollo 5 launches to Moon; unmanned lunar module tests made.
Feb 1: Former US VP Richard Nixon announces candidacy for president.
Feb 14: Pennsylvania Railroad/NYC Central merge into Penn Central.
Mar 16: Robert F. Kennedy announces presidential campaign.
Mar 18: Congress repeals requirement for a gold reserve.
Jun 6: Senator Robert F. Kennedy dies from his wounds after he is shot the previous night.
Jun 26: Iwo Jima & Bonin Islands are returned to Japan by US.
Oct 31: US President Lyndon B. Johnson orders a halt to all bombing of North Vietnam.

World History

Feb 1: Saigon police chief Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executes Viet Cong officer Nguyễn Văn Lém with a pistol shot to head. The execution is captured by photographer Eddie Adams and becomes an anti-war icon.
Feb 7: Belgium government of Vanden Boeynants falls.
Mar 3: Greek, Portuguese, and Spanish embassies are bombed in the Hague.
Mar 7: The BBC broadcasts the news for the first time in color on television.
Mar 21: Israeli forces cross Jordan River to attack PLO bases.
Apr 18: Dutch Department of Amnesty International forms.
May 27: The meeting of the Union Nationale des Étudiants de France (National Union of the Students of France) takes place. 30,000 to 50,000 people gather in the Stade Sebastien Charlety.
May 30: President De Gaulle disbands French parliament.
Jun 3: Canada announces it will replace silver with nickel in coins.
Jun 8: Bermuda adopts its constitution.
Jul 29: Pope Paul VI, in an encyclical entitled “Humanae Vitae” (Of Human Life), declares any artificial forms of birth control prohibited.
Aug 24: France becomes the world’s fifth thermonuclear power with a detonation on Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific.
Sept 6: Swaziland gains independence from Britain (National Day).
Sept 13: Albania leaves Warsaw pact.
Sept 27: France denies UK entry into common market.
Dec 28: Israeli assault on Beirut Airport.

Arts & Sciences

Jan 8: Jacques Cousteau‘s first undersea special airs on network TV.
Feb 8: Planet of the Apes premieres in New York City.
Feb 19: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood debuts on NET (now PBS).
Mar 11: Otis Redding posthumously receives gold record for “Dock of the Bay.”
Mar 15: LIFE magazine calls Jimi Hendrix “most spectacular guitarist in the world.”
Apr 4: US civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
Apr 29: Hair opens at Biltmore Theater, NYC; lasts for 1750 performances.
Jun 12: Horror film Rosemary’s Baby, based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Ira Levin, premieres in NY.
Jul 1: John Lennon‘s first full art exhibition debuts.
Sept 8: Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand premieres.
Sept 24: 60 Minutes premieres on CBS.
Oct 22: Apollo 7 returns to Earth.
Oct 30: Nobel prize for physics is awarded to Luis Alvarez.
Nov 14: First European lung transplant is performed.
Dec 21: Apollo 8—first manned Moon voyage is launched with Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders.

Human & Civil Rights

Feb 4: Around 100 Indians and Pakistanis from Kenya arrive in Britain, escaping discrimination.
Feb 29: National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (Kerner Comm) reports against racism & demands aid for Black people.
Mar 4: Martin Luther King Jr. announces plans for Poor People’s Campaign.
Apr 11: US President Lyndon B. Johnson signs 1968 Civil Rights Act.
Jun 18: Supreme Court bans racial discrimination in sale & rental of housing.
Jun 20: Austin Currie, then Nationalist Member of Parliament (MP) at Stormont, and other Irish civil rights activists, protest discrimination in the allocation of housing by “squatting” (illegally occupying) in a house in Caledon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.


Mar 4: Joe Frazier TKOs Buster Mathis in 11 for heavyweight boxing title.
Mar 21: “Royals” is chosen as the name of new KC AL franchise.
Jun 9: 67th Women’s French Open—Nancy Richey beats Ann Jones (5-7, 6-4, 6-1).
Jun 24: Joe Frazier TKOs Manuel Ramos in 2 for heavyweight boxing title.
Jul 6: 75th Wimbledon Women’s Tennis—Billie Jean King beats J. Tegart (97 75).
Jul 21: 55th Tour de France is won by Jan Janssen of Netherlands.
Aug 25: Arthur Ashe becomes first African American to win the US singles championship.
Oct 26: George Foreman wins gold for USA at Mexico Olympic games (Heavyweight boxing).
Nov 26: 34th Heisman Trophy Award goes to O.J. Simpson.

Leave a Reply