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peral primus program photo

Stage Name

Birth Name

Pearl Primus

Pearl E. Primus

     Pearl was a ethnological contemporary African-American dancer and choreographer. Came to the U.S. as a child, entered and graduated Hunter College in New York. Got into dancing through a school project ( African Ceremonial) trained with Martha Graham and Charles Weidman and made her professional debut in 1944. She founded her own dance company in 1946, and was best known for her "primitive" dances.

     Later, became a anthropologist ( Columbia U.) who specialized in Negro Dance themes as well as primitive, West Indian and American Dance forms. She was awarded the "Juluis Rosenwald Fellowship" in 1948 to make a survey of native dances of Africa. In 1994 she past on in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Birth Place

Birth Date



Trinidad, West Indies 11/29/1919 - 10/29/1994 Percival Borde (1954) n/a

Dance Types

Dance Partners

Music Titles

Ballet Percival Borde n/a
Lindy Hop            
Ethnological Dance            
~Yanvaloo (Chor)            
~Study In Nothing (Chor)            
~Strange Fruit (Chor)            
~Shouters of Sabo (Chor)            
~Negro Speaks of Rivers (Chor)            
~Afro-Haitian Playdance (Chor)            
~African Ceremonial Te Moana (Chor)            

Night Clubs



Cafe Society Downtown Belasco Theater (1944)* 1944 - Negro Speaks of Rivers
Savoy Ballroom Chicago Opera House (1946) 1944 - Pearl Primus*
      International Theater*** 1945 - African Ceremonial Te Moana
      Liberian Arts Center (1959) 1945 - Afro- Haitian Playdance
      Ziegfeld Theater (1946)** 1945 - Hard Time Blues
            1945 - Strange Fruit
            1946 - Showboat**
            1946 - Emperor Jones
            1947 - Caribbean Carnival***
            1959 - Fanga
            1961 - The Wedding (Ailey)
            8/18/1979 - Earth Theater
            1980 - Michael Row your Boat Ashore
            Shouters of Sobo
            Slave Market
            Study In Nothing




1943 - YMHA n/a $2000 - Free To Dance
1943 - Cafe Society Downtown       1948 - Life Mag ( Hunter)
1944 - Hunter College