A distinguished classical ballerina and teacher, Sandra Fortune-Green has enjoyed a successful career, heralded in the annals of African-American dancers. Fortune-Green developed her passion for ballet at eleven years old as a student at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet (now JHDS) where she blossomed under the tutelage of Doris Jones and Claire Haywood, and later continued her studies in New York City at the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, and at George Washington and Howard universities.
As a professional dancer, Fortune-Green was a featured soloist with The Washington Ballet and the Capitol Ballet Company, performing in the classics, such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Le Corsaire and Don Quixote, and in contemporary works by George Balanchine, Louis Johnson, George Faison, Choo-San Goh, Billy Wilson, Walter Raines, Sylvester Campbell, and Norman Walker. She also performed as a guest artist with Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Santo Domingo Ballet in the Dominican Republic. In 1973, Fortune-Green was the only American in the Second International Ballet Competition in Moscow, and in the next two years, she garnered Honorable Mentions at the Seventh (1974) and Eighth (1976) International Ballet Competitions in Varna, Bulgaria.
Fortune-Green has been recognized for her contribution to dance in Washington with the Mayor's Arts Award for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline, the Certificate for Outstanding Artist presented by Mayor Walter Washington, Ward 4's 2010 Exceptional Women in the Arts Award, DC Public School's 2010 Highly Effective Educator Award and designation as an outstanding alumnus by Howard University. She has been featured in major publications, including Black Dance from 1619 to Today by Lynn Fauley Emery with a foreword by Katherine Dunham and The Black Tradition in American Dance by Richard Long.
In addition to her duties as a teacher at JHDS, Fortune-Green serves on the faculty at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. She has also taught dance as an adjunct professor at Howard University's College of Arts and Sciences; the Baltimore School of the Arts, Ballet Nacional de Santo Domingo, George Washington University, Philadanco and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company; and for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater during a Washington DC tour in the 1980s. As an instructor in Project Dance, Fortune-Green taught beginning ballet to culturally disadvantaged children. She was also selected to work with the Mobil Corporation's Young Audiences program, aimed at exposing young children to classic ballet. Her goal is to teach a new generation to appreciate their unique special gifts through the love of dance.
Looking back, Fortune-Green's return to JHDS as artistic director in 2006 seems fortuitous. In a May 1974 article in At Home magazine about Jones and Haywood, it was written, "Right now, their eyes are on Sandra Fortune, who they hope will continue their school. In Sandra, who has been taking lessons from them for 12 years, the women see images of themselves." Certainly, the two founders would be pleased to see that their vision for Fortune-Green has turned to reality.