Music: Black, Black

Ever since childhood trips to the U. S. acquainted him with the cakewalk and minstrel shows, German-born Choreographer Eugene von Grona has wanted to bring Harlem and the ballet together. While dancing and directing ballets at Roxy's Theatre in 1935, he explored upper Manhattan, dived into nightclubs. He found their dancers all too light, too sophisticated. "I want them black, black, all Negro," said von Grona. Samuel ("Roxy") Rothafel agreed, said "the blacker the better." Von Grona advertised, offering scholarships, and got hundreds of applications. He picked 20 of the blackest applicants and...

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