Jones-Haywood School of Ballet and Sandra Fortune-Green
A native of Washington DC, Sandra Fortune-Green began taking dance lessons at age 10 at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet. This school, founded by Doris W. Jones and Claire Haywood in 1941, provided opportunities to learn classical ballet techniques to minority children. Fortune-Green continued her studies at the School of American Ballet in New York City and became a principal dancer for the Capitol Ballet Company.
Fortune-Green became the artistic director for the Jones-Haywood School of Dance in 2006. She has been the owner of the school since 2007, calling herself “the guardian of the school’s legacy.”
Sandra Fortune-Green and Capitol Ballet
White House Photograph B0404-03A, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library
More about Sandra Fortune-Green
Prima ballerina Sandra Fortune-Green was born on March 2, 1951 in Washington DC to Elizabeth and Raymond Fortune. Fortune-Green began her dance career at age ten, enrolling in the renowned Jones-Haywood School of Dance under the instruction of Doris Jones and Claire Haywood. Fortune-Green flourished at the school, eventually becoming a principal dancer for the Capitol Ballet Company.
After Fortune-Green graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1968, she pursued her dance studies in New York at the School of American Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre, and the Joffrey Ballet before returning back to Washington DC to attend Howard University. In 1972, Fortune-Green left Howard to begin training for the prestigious Second International Ballet Competition in Moscow, Russia. She was the only African American to ever compete in this competition. Fortune-Green was eliminated after the second round of judging, but finished twenty-sixth out of the 126 dancers participating. After returning to the United States, Fortune-Green married her high school sweetheart, Joseph Green, on New Year’s Eve of 1975.
In 1987, Fortune-Green earned a Washington DC Mayor’s Arts Award presented by Marion Barry, and in 1994, she was invited to join the faculty at Howard University’s dance department, where she taught ballet technique classes. Fortune Green is also on the dance faculty at the Duke Ellington School of Arts, a position she has held for more than thirty years. In 2007, Fortune-Green became the new owner of the Jones-Haywood School of Dance, the same studio she attended throughout her adolescence and early adulthood. Years earlier, Jones and Haywood stated in a 1974 interview that they hoped Fortune-Green would continue their legacy.
Fortune-Green has been widely recognized for her efforts within the performing arts, including a designation as an outstanding alumnus from Howard University. Fortune-Green was also featured in two major publications—Black Dance from 1619 to Today by Lynne Fauley Emery and The Black Tradition in Dance by Richard Long.