Ballets Nègres invitation, 1946

Ballets Nègres invitation, 1946

Ballets Nègres was the first British black dance company, founded by Jamaican-born Berto Pasuka in 1946. This letter was sent to the press inviting them to the first performances of the company at a small theatre in west London. Traditionally, a management invites critics to review a performance and gives them free seats. Pasuka created most of the ballets himself, basing them on Caribbean themes, from philosophy to the daily bustle of Market Day. The company lasted for six years but failed to gain official subsidy. It was impossible to sustain the company from box office takings alone and it closed in 1952. Pasuka died in 1963. In 2000 the Theatre Museum and Positive Steps dance company invited surviving members of Ballet Nègres to work with young people to recreate Pasuka's ballet Market Day.