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Mary Hinkson 1925-2015

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Dance Faculty Member

This still from the 1956 film A Dancer's World, a collaboration of Nathan Kroll ('28, violin) and Martha Graham (faculty 1951-77), features Mary Hinkson, Bertram Ross (faculty 1959-72), and Graham.

 (Photo by Juilliard Archives)

Mary Hinkson, a member of the Juilliard dance faculty in the division's earliest years and a lead dancer with the Martha Graham company, died on November 26 at age 89. Born in Philadelphia in 1925, Hinkson received bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Wisconsin. She broke racial barriers by becoming one of the first two black dancers in Graham's dance company. She later became the first black woman to perform for George Balanchine, in a role he created for her at New York City Ballet. In addition to Juilliard, Hinkson taught at the High School of Performing Arts and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. She also coached dancers with the Stuttgart Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Joffrey Ballet, and Philadelphia's Philadanco.

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Hinkson and her husband, Julien Jackson, a physicist who died in 1983, owned and managed D&G Bakery in SoHo; she continued to work there with their daughter until they sold the bakery in 1997. Hinkson is survived by her daughter, Jennifer Jackson Hardy; a granddaughter, Elsa Hardy; a grandson, Jeremy Hardy; and a sister, Cordelia Hinkson Brown.

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