The story of the sisters who created the famous Dayton Ballet

Today’s Dayton Ballet took its first steps when two sisters pushed aside their living room furniture to make room for young performers.

Josephine Schwarz and her older sister, Hermene, first mesmerized by dance in 1910, went on to found what would become the Dayton Ballet School and the Dayton Ballet.

Here are 3 things to know about the sisters:

1. A sickly child. At age 8, a case of mumps left Josephine bed ridden and fragile. To rebuild her strength and balance, she was enrolled in a local dance academy.

>> READ MORE: In their living room, sisters set the stage for the Dayton Ballet

2. Home schooling. The siblings co-founded the Schwarz School of Dance in their home in 1927. The Schwarz School would later become the Dayton Ballet School. Josephine taught dance along with Hermene, who also designed costumes and built scenery.

3. Influence lives on. The sisters opened their classes to black students at a time when much of the country was segregated. One of their students, Jeraldyne Blunden, went on to found the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.

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