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Doris Jones

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Information about Doris Jones

Profile image of Doris Jones

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Artistic Director
Dance Instructor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
Let's Get On With It.

Birthplace

Born:
6/3/1913
Birth Location:
Malden, Massachusetts

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Artistic Director
Dance Instructor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
Let's Get On With It.

Birthplace

Born:
6/3/1913
Birth Location:
Malden
See how Doris Jones is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Artistic director and dance instructor Doris Winnefred Jones was born in Malden, Massachusetts on June 3, 1913, to Maddie Lightfoot Jones and Walter James Jones. She grew up with aspirations of being a ballet dancer, but found it difficult to find dance schools that would accept her as a student because of the paucity of African Americans involved in classical dance. At a young age, Jones was already a formidable tap dancer and was offered an opportunity to tour with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, but her parents would not allow her to go. As a teenager, she traded tap dancing lessons for ballet lessons at a classical dance school in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1941, Jones and another young dance teacher, Claire Haywood, founded the Jones-Haywood School for Ballet in order to provide young African American students with the opportunity to learn classical dance. Jones and Haywood later formed the Capitol Ballet Company as an integrated performing troupe. Jones served as the company's artistic director until 1982. Today, the Capitol Ballet Company holds the distinction of being the oldest predominately African American ballet company in the United States. In 1980, Jones also formed the Jones-Haywood Youth Dancers in order to provide more opportunities for younger dancers.

During her long career, Jones both trained and studied under some of the biggest names in classical dance including Chita Rivera, Hinton Battle, Sylvester Campbell and Sandra Fortune-Green. She also served as director of the Washington, D.C. Public Schools Dance Program. Over the years, she has choreographed for the Washington Opera Society and the Washington Civic Opera. She has been the recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Medal for Outstanding Service in Human Rights and the Metropolitan Theatrical Society's Mainline to Stardom Award.

Doris Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 25, 2003.

Doris Jones died of pneumonia on March 21, 2006, in Washington, D.C.

See how Doris Jones is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Doris Jones' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Doris Jones lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Doris Jones describes her family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Doris Jones talks about her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Doris Jones describes her father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Doris Jones speculates on how her parents might have met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Doris Jones talks about going to see shows every Monday with her mother as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Doris Jones talks about her childhood personality and interests
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Doris Jones talks about her family's records and phonograph
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Doris Jones talks about her father's profession and musical talent
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Doris Jones talks about her schooling
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Doris Jones talks about schoolteachers she remembers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Doris Jones talks about taking formal dance classes
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Doris Jones describes being refused dance lessons because of race
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Doris Jones describes her early career as a dance teacher
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Doris Jones describes moving to Washington, D.C. to teach dance
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Doris Jones describes the growth of her dance school in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Doris Jones talks about her dance company and various dancers including HistoryMaker Sandra Fortune-Green
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Doris Jones talks about some of her dancers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Doris Jones talks about Chita Rivera and HistoryMaker Louis Johnson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Doris Jones talks about difficulties in purchasing a house for the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Doris Jones talks about differences in teaching styles between her and Claire Haywood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Doris Jones talks about the highlights of her career in dance
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Doris Jones talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Doris Jones talks about the need for the arts in schools and African dance
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Doris Jones talks about her trip to Russia for the Second International Ballet Competition in 1973
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Doris Jones talks about HistoryMaker Sandra Fortune-Green's performance in Russia in 1973
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Doris Jones reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Doris Jones reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Doris Jones reflects upon how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Doris Jones narrates her photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Doris Jones narrates her photographs, pt. 2