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Roshini Avula

the daughter of Elizabeth Dearing, a nurse from Tuskegee, Alabama and Charles Dearing, a tailor from Manhattan. She had two sisters, Carole and Bianca, and also two brothers, Charles and Andre. Dearing reported that she inherited her tailoring talent from her both parents. She grew up in Manhattan and graduated from City College with a B.A. in mathematics and science.

Dearing’s dream was to become a dancer and an actor, but she is ultimately known for her skill as a costume designer. She began as a dancer with Chuck Davis at The Ailey School and with the Sun Ock Lee Dance Company and Mariam Makeba. She acted in The Great MacDaddy and Dream on Monkey Mountain with the Negro Ensemble Company, which was founded in New York in 1967 She married John Parks an accomplished dancer at The Ailey School with whom she had a daughter Aissatou She and ...


Rachel Shor

dancer, choreographer, and educator, was born in Statesville, North Carolina. The family moved to Washington, D.C., where Johnson, nimble in gymnastics and athletics, was noticed at the local YMCA. Recommended to the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet, which he attended on scholarship, the teenager was selected by the school's founders, Doris Jones and Clara Haywood, to apply to the prestigious School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York City. Along with classmate Chita Rivera, Johnson was accepted, again on scholarship, as one of the first African Americans and the first “black black” (Dunning, New York Times, 25 September 1975) to achieve this honor. He decided to first finish high school, where he was studying art, another talent that aided his professional career.

At SAB, Johnson was mentored by Jerome Robbins co director of the New York City Ballet had a solo in the ...