(WKBN) – A well-known ballerina who began her career in Youngstown has passed away.
Ballet Western Reserve shared the news of Stephanie Dabney’s passing earlier this week. She passed away Wednesday, according to the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Dabney began her training at Ballet Western Reserve as a young child until 1975, when she was offered an apprenticeship position while participating in a Master Class at BWR’s studios with Arthur Mitchell, the founder and artistic director of Dance Theater of Harlem. After just six months with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dabney was offered the position of a full company member.
Dabney built an impressive repertoire with the Dance Theatre of Harlem over her years, which includes her signature lead role in Firebird, choreographed by John Taras. She was the first African American ballerina to perform the title role, according to Ballet Western Reserve.
She also performed in the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
In 1996, Dabney retired from professional dance and began teaching ballet at Spelman College.