ABT Negro Unit’s Black Ritual and Clementine Collinwood

Click to view American Ballet Theatre; Negro Unit and Black Ritual Orbit

The American Ballet Theatre’s all-black Negro Unit, which was founded in 1940 as part of the Federal Theatre Project, included Clementine Collinwood, along with Lawaune Kennard, Lavinia Williams, Anne Jones, Dorothy Williams, Elizabeth Thompson, Evelyn Pilcher, Edith Ross, Leonore “Azelean” Cox, Edith Hurd, Mabel Hart, Maudelle Bass, Clementine Collinwood, Carole Ash, Bernice Willis, and Muriel Cook.  The Negro Unit only performed one ballet during its existence—Black Ritual or Obeah, which was choreographed by Agnes de Mille and premiered in 1940.

Clementine Collinwood performed with members of Black Ritual in other works. Collingwood, along with Muriel Cook, Lawaune Kennard, Edith Hurd, and Bernice Johnson of the Negro Unit, performed in the original Broadway cast of Swingin’ the Dream.


More about Clementine Collinwood

Swingin’ The Dream Playbill – Dec 1939.

Clementine Collinwood (also known as Clemie Collinwood) was a member of the Negro Unit of Ballet Theatre. She was also a part of the original Broadway cast of Swingin’ the Dream, which premiered November 29, 1939.










Black Ritual (Obeah), American Ballet Theatre
Clemie Collinwood, Playbill
Maher, Erin K. “Ballet, Race, and Agnes de Mille’s Black Ritual.” The Musical Quarterly, vol. 97, no. 3, Fall 2014, pp. 390-428.

Caprice Turchiano



Madeline Crawford

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