Maudelle Bass

Negro Unit of Ballet Theatre

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Photo by Johan Hagemeyer.

Maudelle Bass, a native of Early County, Georgia, was a member of the Negro Unit of Ballet Theatre. She was a part of the original cast of Agnes de Mille’s Black Ritual and was the first Black dancer to study with Lestor Horton, in addition to her training with Isobel Keith Morrison. 

She modeled for painter Diego Rivera; he was reportedly “enraptured by her beauty.” She was also a model for photographer Edward Weston and for Beulah Ecton Woodard’s sculpture Maudelle.

Bass, later known as Maudelle Bass Weston and by her professional name Maudelle, became a cultural figure within the LA arts community, toured throughout the country, and performed in lecture-demonstrations in New York for many years.

She passed away at 81 years old in 1989.





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