Marion Durham Cuyjet – Dancing Determination

Hi there Markers, 

Who are your favorite mentors for Women’s History Month 2020?

Here’s a jewel from our family catalogue: Marion Durham Cuyjet (pronounced: SOO-jay)! Read how amazing her dancing moved the Heritage House (A leading African American cultural organization during the 1950s) in Philadelphia as their Principal Choreographer. Teaching more then just dance, Miss Marion taught “subliminal determination!” Since Miss Marion has the look of a Caucasian, she’d rent studio locations that wouldn’t, otherwise be offered to people of color – then taught dance to students of color – until it was time to “move” on down the roadways… Marion a pioneer; an activist, breaking color barriers to allow people of melanin on how to “break a leg!” I am lucky to have her as one of my eldest cousins; paving the way of artistry for many of the mixed, black and melanin. 

As a mixed race descended from the community of Delaware Moors (West African, Spanish as well as Lenape and Nanticoke Native American ancestry), Cuyjet’s fair complexion motivated her to seek equal opportunity and tear down color barriers for African Americans in the classical ballet community. -(Source: University of Maryland – Eastern Shore).

Mrs. Marion Durham Cuyjet – (1920 – 1996)
This week’s Honorary Women’s History Month Lady to Mark!

Article: UMES  –Marion Cuyjet – dance instructor & cultural activist –
Article: NY Times –Marion D. Cuyjet, 76, Pioneer In Teaching Black Dancers  –

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