February 12, 2015 - Issue: Vol. 161, No. 24 — Daily Edition114th Congress (2015 - 2016) - 1st Session
A TRIBUTE TO SYDNEY GIBSON KING; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 24
(Extensions of Remarks - February 12, 2015)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E204] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] A TRIBUTE TO SYDNEY GIBSON KING ______ HON. ROBERT A. BRADY of pennsylvania in the house of representatives Thursday, February 12, 2015 Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, as the nation celebrates Black History Month, I rise to celebrate a Philadelphia treasure, Mrs. Sydney G. King. Because of her love and dedication to dance and her desire to train Black ballerinas, Mrs. King opened the Sydney School of Dance in the 1940s for aspiring African American dancers who were not allowed to attend white dance studios in post war segregated Philadelphia. Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1919, King came to Philadelphia with her family when she was just two years old and at an early age began studying ballet under the tutelage of dance pioneer Essie Marie Dorsey. For more than six decades the Sydney School of Dance trained hundreds of Black children and many went on to receive national and international recognition in the dance world. Those students include dance professionals such as: Joan Meyers Brown, the founder and director of the much acclaimed Philadanco; Billy Wilson, famed director/choreographer and soloist with the National Ballet of Holland; Broadway performer Betsy Ann Dickerson; singer/ actress Lola Falana; Carol Johnson, a former principal dancer with the Eleo Pomare Dance Company and founder of an aboriginal dance company in Australia; and Arthur Hall, founder of the Afro American Dance Ensemble. These dance greats in no way diminish the accomplishments of hundreds of her other students who did not choose careers in dance but because of the empowering and esteem building training at the Sydney School of Dance they are today proud and successful professionals in a variety of fields. Mrs. King, the mother of three children, is a widow and now at the age of 95 sums her life's dedication to dance by saying simply she wanted to, ``train and create Black ballerinas.'' ____________________