Josephine and Hermene Schwarz

Josephine L. 1908 – 2004

Hermene 1902 – 1986

Josephine L. Schwarz and Hermene Schwarz were dancers, choreographers and ballet teachers who together founded the Experimental Group for Young Dancers, the forerunner of the Dayton Ballet and the nation’s second-oldest regional dance company. They taught generations how to dance, and many of their students have gone on to careers in professional dance, choreography, or to found their own ballet companies. Their high standards were legendary, as was their strong sense of inclusiveness. They taught dancing lessons at the Linden Center in Dayton to all children and presented racially integrated performances in the 1940s. The sisters began by teaching dance classes for neighborhood children and dancing themselves after studying in Europe. Josephine moved to New York for study at the School of American Ballet and performed on Broadway. When
a knee injury forced her to give up performing, “Miss Jo” returned to Dayton to begin her career in teaching and choreography with her sister.