DELORES BROWN

 

BORN:

Another iconic legend and Philadelphia native is Delores Brown. Philly was a Hub of sorts and a largely overlooked hot spot where the arts were abundant and school teachers would start extra curricular clubs. That is when Ms. Brown joined the Ballet Club and started dancing. Black dancers couldn't go to white schools to train, but some of the teachers came to the black studios to train black students privately. She then became a student of the legendary Marion Cyujet at the Judimar School. At the age of 14 she was awarded a scholarship to further her ballet training. She later auditioned for the American School of Ballet and became one of six black students in the school. Like many other young aspiring black ballerinas, her dream was to eventually join the ranks of the New York City Ballet.
It was the stories of Delores, along with Joan Myers Brown and Raven Wilkinson that became an integral part of of history. Many black dancers during this era of segregation and beyond were forgotten because they were often denied a public platform to perform. It was also during this time that Ms. Brown was confronted with racism, exclusion and unequal opportunity. However in this overwhelmingly white world of classical dance more than 60 years ago, she somehow persevered through challenging obstacles and resilience in order to pursue her dreams of a career in dance and to leave a powerful legacy for the generations to come. She often stated that she "understood that diversity would take time because she had been watching it for decades".
In 1950 she performed with John Jones at the Lincoln Center in New York. Then in 1957 she joined the all black New York Negro Ballet Company and toured the world. She later went on to teach for Joan Myers Brown's PHILDANCO and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.
The video below encompasses both pioneers Delores Brown & Raven Wilkenson: