Established as the Jones-Haywood School in 1941 by dance pioneers Doris W. Jones (R) and Claire H. Haywood(L), Jones-Haywood Dance School (JHDS) as it is known today, was founded expressly to give minority children an opportunity to study classical ballet at a time when opportunities were limited for African-American students, and this types of institution was rare.
To give their talented students a chance to dance in their own home town, Jones and Haywood also founded the racially integrated Capitol Ballet Company professional troupe in 1961, which was directed by Jones until it closed in 1989 due to financial challenges. JHDS, however, has continued to flourish and was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2007.
Today, under the guardianship and artistic direction of one of its celebrated alumna, Sandra Fortune-Green, JHDS remains steadfast in its longstanding tradition of service and commitment to the children of Washington, offering classical and contemporary dance training as well as choreographic and performance opportunities.
At JHDS, students also learn to appreciate dance as an art form and acquire life skills and discipline that facilitate their academic learning and ability to develop positive family, peer and other societal relationships.
Headquartered in its original location, JHDS has become a Washington landmark and a popular stop on the city's African-American Heritage Trail.