Louis Johnson and James Thurston
Louis Johnson and James Thurston worked closely together during Treemonisha, for which Johnson was choreographer. Thurston, previously a dancer with the New York Negro Ballet, a company for which Johnson choreographed, served as assistant choreographer, dance captain, and dancer for Treemonisha. The reprisal of Scott Joplin’s 1911 opera premiered October 21, 1975 on Broadway. Joplin’s creation was largely unknown during his lifetime and only officially premiered in 1972.
More about James Thurston
Before joining the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Washington DC-native James Thurston was a member of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Canada’s oldest ballet company, and the New York Negro Ballet, which was known as Ballet Americana during his time, ca. 1959.
Thurston was a founding faculty member of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington DC.
Which was the First?—a historical essay on the first Black Dance Company in the USA
Dance Theatre of Harlem Repertory List, Columbia University Libraries
An Alumna Reflects on Duke Ellington School of the Arts’ Founding Years of Activism and Artistry, Yvette Heyliger
James Thurston, Playbill
Dance: Faison Company, The New York Times
Winnipeg Ballet To Perform At Dr. Peoples’ Inauguration, Clarion-Ledger
Soul Dancing at Center Was Just Too Much, Daily News
Washingtonians Dig Ballet…, The Pittsburgh Courier