Richard Moten

Capitol Ballet (ca. 1968-1977)
Joan Kerr Dance Company
Philadelphia Civic Ballet: Soloist (ca. 1976-1989)

Photo via the Philadelphia Inquirer, 1989.
Born ca. 1950, Richard Moten spent most of his career dancing in Philadelphia. With the Capitol Ballet, Moten performed as one of the “Indian Braves” in Pocahontas at the Cramton Auditorium of Howard University on May 31, 1968; in Doris Jones’ Asha No. 1 at the National Museum of Natural History on June 27, 1969; at the Henderson A. Johnson Gymnasium of Fisk University on April 22, 1970; and in Hinton Battle’s Hinty at the Lisner Auditorium during the 1976/1977 season.
In the early 1970s, Moten danced as a member of a modern dance company, the Joan Kerr Dance Company. He then joined Philadelphia Civic Ballet ca. 1976, and the Philadelphia Daily News states that Moten was a soloist with the company. It was at PCB that he started choreographing; in 1978, Philadelphia’s Channel 3 televised A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for which Moten created a piece set to music by Stevie Wonder. He also choreographed More Miles Per Gallon in 1980, described as “a statement through jazz movement of transferring today’s hard economic times into constructive energies” by The Morning News, and Point of Reference, performed by Philadanco in 1992.
Moten most likely left Philadelphia Civic Ballet in 1989, as there is no evidence of his performances with the company following this year, and became a member of Philadanco, where he danced in the early 1990s.*

Moten seemed to be much appreciated and often featured in the companies with which he danced, and The Philadelphia Inquirer called the dancer “tall” and “graceful.”

*Note that there are varying records of the time period in which Moten danced with Philadanco—Joan Myers Brown and the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina states that he was with the company before 1975.


Bancroft steps up to dance program, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Planting seeds of nourishment for the arts, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Show Notes, Philadelphia Daily News
Ballet set for King show, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Circus, shows, concerts are coming to the area, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Some winners across the river, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Events, The Morning News
Modern Dance Not Void of Sex, The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Washington Post, 30th May 1968, p. C6  
The Tennessean, 23th April 1970, p. 37
Dixon Gottschild, Brenda, et al. Joan Myers Brown and the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina: A Biohistory of American Performance. United States, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

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