In 1961, the Capital Ballet was created which later became the first Black ballet company of Washington, D.C. The first attempt to establish the company in earlier years was unsuccessful. With the death of Claire Haywood, Doris Jones contacted American Ballet Theatre’s first Black principal male dancer, Keith Lee (who was performing at the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in DC) to be a guest teacher at the school. Image: Courtesy of JHSD Website/ Doris Jones and Claire Haywood.

Eventually, Jones asked Lee to revive the company and become its new artistic director. He accepted and gathered 15 dancers in two months[1]. Some of these dancers included Hinton Battle, Charles Adams, and Sandra Fortune–Green (who was found by Bernice Hammond and brought to Doris Jones and Claire Haywood); Lynn Welters-Newman, a former student,  departed from JHSD to create her own school New School of Dance.[2]

[1] Lee, Keith. “Capital Ballet.” Personal interview. 24 Apr. 2010.

[2] “Dancing in The Dark: Black Concert Dance in Washington, D.C.; Tyrone Murray.” Personal interview. Feb.-Mar. 2010.