Barbara Wright [Craig]

New York Negro Ballet

Wright with Louis Johnson in Johnson’s Variations.

Barbara Wright trained at the Jones-Haywood School and the School of American Ballet’s summer intensive and was a member of New York Negro Ballet. Her repertoire included Ernest Parham’s Mardi Gras and Louis Johnson’s Variations. She left the company to perform as an “Islander” in the 1957 Broadway production of Jamaica. In a 2018 Ballet Review interview, Louis Johnson listed Wright as one of the remarkable Black dancers who preceded those of Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Edward Flemyng, Cleo Quitman, Theodore Duncan, and Wright in Ernest Parham’s Mardi Gras, 1957.

Sources:

Ballet in Black: Louis Johnson and African American Vernacular Humour in Ballet, Thomas F. Defrantz
Before the Dance Theatre of Harlem: Delores Browne—Black Ballerina, Columbia University Libraries
Barbara Wright, Playbill
Dancing Many Drums: Excavations In African American Dance, Thomas F. Defrantz
A Conversation with Louis Johnson, Ballet Review

See also:

Ward Flemying founds Ballet Americana/New York Negro Ballet, MoBBallet

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