Ballet Black

Though now nothing but historic footnote, Ballets Nègres was Europe's first all-black dance ensemble, which had its debut in London in April 1946, and its final performances in 1952. During those six years, Ballets Nègres opened doors and broke down barriers with its vibrant celebrations of Caribbean cultures. This film attempts to assemble all the scanty available documentation on the company. Lengthy sequences are jigged together from still photographs, or feature contemporary dancers trying to reconstruct one of the company's major creations. As director/writer/photographer/editor, Dwoskin should have made more choices. Had he selectively edited down his footage, the result would have been twice as compelling. As it stands, Ballet Black moves at a creeping, magisterial pace. Reverent, much too reverent.

Release details

Duration: 83 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Stephen Dwoskin
Screenwriter: Stephen Dwoskin
Cast: Ben Johnson
Astley Harvey
Pamela Johnson
Johnny Lagey
Pearl Johnson
Richie Riley
Leonard Salzedo