Janet Collins performed in Aida, Carmen, making her the 1st Black ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera. She could not tour in parts of the Deep South due to her race.
Janet Collins was a ballet dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She performed on Broadway, in films, and appeared frequently on television
After moving to Los Angeles at the age of 4, Collins, received her first dance training at a Catholic community center. Collins studied primarily with Carmelita Maracci, Lester Horton, and Adolph Bolm, who were a few ballet teachers who accepted black students.
Ms. Collins was one of the few classically trained Black dancers of her generation. In 1951 she won the Donaldson Award for best dancer on Broadway for her work in Cole Porter’s Out of This World.
Janet Collins was among the pioneers of black ballet dancing and paved the way for others to follow. (Arthur Mitchell, for example, joined the New York City Ballet in the year Collins retired.) In 1932, she was 15 & auditioned with success, for the prestigious Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, but as she was required to paint her face and skin white in order to be able to perform. She did not join the company.
In 1948, she moved to New York and got the chance to dance her own choreography on a shared program at the 92nd Street YMHA.
Read more about Ms. Collins’ career and legacy at: Daily Black History Facts