Biography of John Durang (1768-1822)

Dancer, actor, Acrobat, writer and choreographer, born in York (Pennsylvania) January 6, 1768 and died in Philadelphia in 1822, which is considered the first American professional dancer.

He made his debut in Philadelphia with a peasant dance (1785) but, due to the strong opposition showing by the Government towards the theatre, the show was billed as a series of lectures. He then worked in a circus troupe, also in Philadelphia, as well as in New York with Alexander and Madame Placide, called Dancing Ballot dance company. With this group he danced The Bird Catcher (1792) and premiered the ballet Tammany, or The Indian Chief (1794), with scenery of Charles Cicéri.

His ballets-pantomima included The Country Frolic, or The Merry Haymakers (1796) and The Western Exhibition, or The Whiskey Boy completo Liberty Pole (1797). He was a professional couple with dancer Anna Gardie, on a tour of New York directed by the French choreographer Jean-Baptiste Francisqui. His sons Charles and Ferdinand Durang were also dancers - debuted at the nine and seven years, respectively-, as well as her daughters Charlotte and Julia Durang.