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*the birth of Virginia Johnson in 1950 is celebrated on this date. She is a Black choreographer, former premia ballerina, journalist and artistic director.
Virginia Johnson was born and raised in Washington, D.C. She began training in classical ballet at the age of three under Therrell Smith, a friend of her mothers who had trained under Mathilde Kschessinska. When she was thirteen years old, she was accepted as a scholarship student at The Washington School of Ballet, where she trained under Mary Day and was the only Black student. She graduated from the school in 1968.
Johnson moved to New York City and enrolled as a dance major at New York University. While a student there, she took a class with Arthur Mitchell and was invited to help start a ballet company with him. She became a founding member of Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1969 and was promoted to the rank of principal dancer. She danced lead roles in Agon, A Streetcar Named Desire, Creole Giselle, Concerto Barocco, Allegro Brillante, Fall River Legend, Swan Lake, Les Biches, and Glen Tetley's Voluntaries.
After a twenty-eight-year dancing career with the company, Johnson retired and enrolled as a communications student at Fordham University. She was later hired as the inaugural editor-in-chief of Pointe Magazine and served in that capacity from 2000 until she left in 2009 to become the artistic director of Dance Theatre of Harlem.