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Julian Marvin Swain

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Information about Julian Marvin Swain

Profile image of Julian Marvin Swain

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Choreographer
Dancer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
12/8/1924
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Choreographer
Dancer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
12/8/1924
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Julian Marvin Swain is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Dancer, choreographer, and entertainer Julian Marvin Swain was born on December 18, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois. Raised by his mother, Sarah Elizabeth Davis Swain, he attended Stephen A. Douglas Elementary School and Wendell Phillips High School. At Chicago’s Southside Community Arts Center, Swain met artists like Margaret Goss Burroughs and Gordon Parks and took lessons with dancers Lester Goodman, Lucille Ellis, Wilbert Bradley, Sammy Dyer, Tommy Gomez and Jimmy Payne. Swain performed with Carmencita Romero in the Annual Artists Ball at the Savoy. In 1940, Swain traveled with Romero and danced in Toronto before learning about African dance in New York from Senegal’s Assadata Dafora.

Returning to Chicago, Swain worked as one of choreographer Lon Fontaine’s “Beige Beaus” at the Beige Room. Swain then became choreographer and lead dancer at Chicago’s Club DeLisa, but gained his greatest notoriety as a member of the Co-Op Trio with Peter Green and Ann Henry. The Co-Ops performed with top acts like Count Basie and in venues like Larry Steele’s Club Harlem in Atlantic City, New Jersey and Arthur Bragg’s Idlewild Review in Michigan. In the 1960s, Swain continued to perform ballet and modern and ethnic dance and in 1971, he formed the Julian Swain Inner City Dance Theatre at Malcolm X College.

As a singer and actor Swain has performed in various musical reviews and revivals including Okoro Harold Johnson’s Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, Randall Johnson’s Le Stardust Revue, A Tribute to Duke Ellington, Chuck Hoenes’ Best of the Hit Paraders and Sugar. Featured in the The Blues Brothers, Swain also performed in Carlos Santana and Michelle Branch’s “The Game of Love” video. A dance panelist for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Swain also participates in Dance Africa. A recipient of the Black Theatre Alliance Award, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley honored Swain with the 2004 Chicago Senior Citizen Award.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Julian Marvin Swain's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Julian Marvin Swain lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Julian Marvin Swain talks about his maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Julian Marvin Swain talks about his mother's childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Julian Marvin Swain talks about his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Julian Marvin Swain remembers his mother's professions
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Julian Marvin Swain describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Julian Marvin Swain describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Julian Marvin Swain remembers babysitting Melvin King
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Julian Marvin Swain recalls his early artistic influences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Julian Marvin Swain recalls his early formal dance training at the South Side Community Art Center in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Julian Marvin Swain remembers the South Side Community Art Center in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Julian Marvin Swain remembers HistoryMaker Katherine Dunham and her dancers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Julian Marvin Swain talks about his early dance performances
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Julian Marvin Swain remembers performing under Sammy Dyer
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Julian Marvin Swain remembers Carmencita Romero
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Julian Marvin Swain recalls his and neighbor Melvin King's early artistic inclinations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Julian Marvin Swain remembers being a sideshow performer as his first gig outside Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Julian Marvin Swain describes the obstacles faced by African American performers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Julian Marvin Swain talks about HistoryMaker Jackie Taylor's career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Julian Marvin Swain gives advice to African Americans who aspire to be artists
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Julian Marvin Swain recalls his experience as a carnival performer in Canada
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Julian Marvin Swain remembers being stranded in New York, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Julian Marvin Swain recalls his introduction to African dance
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Julian Marvin Swain talks about Babatunde Olatunji
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Julian Marvin Swain remembers returning to Chicago, Illinois after being stranded in New York, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Julian Marvin Swain recalls meeting HistoryMaker Najwa I
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Julian Marvin Swain compares Larry Steele's 'Smart Affairs' and Arthur Braggs' 'Idlewild Revue'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Julian Marvin Swain recalls performing in Larry Steele's 'Smart Affairs' and Arthur Braggs' 'Idlewild Revue'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Julian Marvin Swain remembers becoming the Beige Beaus' choreographer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Julian Marvin Swain recalls the Co-Op Trio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Julian Marvin Swain remembers his choreography career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Julian Marvin Swain recalls performing alongside Josephine Baker as part of the Co-Op Trio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Julian Marvin Swain remembers Josephine Baker
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Julian Marvin Swain describes highlights of his performance career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Julian Marvin Swain talks about his dancing development
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Julian Marvin Swain talks about his ballet training
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Julian Marvin Swain recalls his decision to start a dance company
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Julian Marvin Swain remembers establishing the Julian Swain Inner City Dance Theatre at Malcolm X College in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Julian Marvin Swain talks about performing at FESTAC '77 in Lagos, Nigeria
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Julian Marvin Swain talks about the transition of the Julian Swain Inner City Dance Theatre into NAJWA Dance Corps
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Julian Marvin Swain describes his return to singing
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Julian Marvin Swain describes his hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Julian Marvin Swain reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Julian Marvin Swain reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Julian Marvin Swain describes his mother's reaction to his artistic pursuits
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Julian Marvin Swain describes how he would like to be remembered and concludes his interview
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Julian Marvin Swain narrates his photographs