Philadanco founder Joan Meyers Brown was among the first African American dancers to break the color barrier in ballet. She is the subject of a new book, “Joan Meyers Brown and the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina.”
One of Philadelphia’s longest-running and most successful modern dance companies is Philadanco, founded over 40 years ago by Joan Meyers Brown.
Brown grew up with dreams of becoming a ballerina, but as a black girl in Southwest Philadelphia in the 1940s, the chances of achieving that goal were slim. Ballet—a European tradition associated with aristocracy—was a white institution.
Brown was part of the first generation of dancers to break the color barrier in ballet, and established Philadelphia as a premiere dance training region. She is the subject of the new book, “Joan Meyers Brown and the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina.”