Josephine Schwarz

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) Josephine Schwarz, who co-founded the nation’s second-oldest regional ballet company 67 years ago, died in her sleep Friday, her family said. She was 95.

With her older sister Hermene, Schwarz co-founded the Dayton Ballet in Ohio in 1937.

Schwarz was a pioneer of the regional ballet movement that instituted professional dance classes, performing standards and choreographic training in cities outside major population centers.

The New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Atlanta Ballet, which also began as a regional troupe, are the only professional ballet companies in the United States older than the Dayton Ballet.

She directed the company for 43 years before retiring in 1980. Although she choreographed more than 75 works, she was best known as an exacting teacher and director.

She sent dancers to Broadway and to companies including the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and the Joffrey Ballet.

(from the Associated Press)

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