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Wed, 04.18.1934

Arthur L. Hall, Choreographer and Teacher born.

Arthur L. Hall

*Arthur L. Hall was born on this date in 1934. He was a Black dancer, choreographer, and teacher. 

From Memphis, Tennessee, he was the son of Ms. Sally Yancey and Joshua Milton, was reared by his mother and grandmother, Ms. Emma Yancey, on Beale Street and later in Washington, DC, where Ms. Sally remarried to Patrick Hall, giving Arthur the new family name.

His stage debut was at age 16 in the chorus of the National Negro Opera Company's production of Robert Nathaniel Dett's The Ordering of Moses at Griffith Stadium, Washington, DC, on July 28, 1950. The next year he moved to Philadelphia, studying dance with Marion Cuyjet, Joe Nash, and John Hines, among several other dance masters. Beginning in 1953, along with drummer Bobby Crowder, his long-time dance partner Ione Nash, George Williams, and others, he was a principal dancer in the hugely influential West African Cultural Society founded in Philadelphia by the Ghanaian artist, Olympic athlete, and cultural minister F. Saka Acquaye.

This pioneering work, along with that of anthropologist Pearl Primus and Broadway star Katherine Dunham, was seminal to reintroducing West African art and aesthetics to American popular culture for the first time since slavery.

He founded the Arthur Hall Afro-American Dance Ensemble, a group based in Philadelphia and active from the 1970s - 1988, which combined modern and traditional African dance. He taught dance at Dartmouth College, among other schools. Hall served as cultural arts director of the Model Cities Program in Philadelphia. Arthur Hall died on July 6, 2000.

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