Home About the Film Dance Timeline Behind the Dance Biographies Resources Lesson Plans Screensaver
Free to Dance Biographys
previous next
main bio page
Mary Hinkson
Born: 1930
Occupation: dancer
Born in Philadelphia, Mary Hinkson received her first dance training in a high school eurhythmics class that used techniques devised by Emile Jacques-Dalcroze to teach musical concepts through rhythmical body movements. She attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she studied dance with Margaret d'Houble and received both her B.S. and M.S. degrees in physical education.

After graduating, Hinkson moved to New York to study with Martha Graham, and by 1951 she joined the Martha Graham Dance Company, where she remained a principal dancer until her retirement. Hinkson was best known for her performances with the company in many works that Graham choreographed for her, including "Canticle for Innocent Comedians" (1952) and "Ardent Song" (1955). When the Graham company went on its Far East tour in 1955, Hinkson remained in New York. In 1956 she partnered Alvin Ailey in Harry Belafonte's touring revue "Sing Man Sing."

Her work outside the Graham company included Donald McKayle's "Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder" (1959) in which she created the female role, and with the New York City Ballet in George Balanchine's "Figure in the Carpet" (1960). During the 1960s Hinkson danced in "Circe" (1963), which Martha Graham choreographed for her; Hinkson also danced periodically with the New York City Opera Ballet in John Butler's staging of "Carmina Burana."

Hinkson had a long career as a dance teacher, working throughout her career at the Martha Graham School, at the Juilliard School (1951-1968), and at the High School of Performing Arts (1955-1960). She has also periodically taught contemporary techniques to companies such as the Stuttgart Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Dance Theater of Harlem, and the Joffrey Ballet. In 1979 Hinkson and her husband, Julien Jackson, purchased D & G Bakery, an Italian bread bakery in New York City's Little Italy. Since Jackson's death in 1983, Hinkson has dedicated most of her time to managing the bakery with her daughter and her niece.

-- Zita Allen

Barnes, Clive. "The Dance: Part Real -- Part Dream." NEW YORK TIMES, April 11, 1969.
Emery, Lynne Fauley. BLACK DANCE FROM 1619 TO TODAY. Princeton, N.J., 1988, pp. 274, 316317.
Kisselgoff, Anna. "Mary Hinkson Powerful in Graham's Medea Role." NEW YORK TIMES, May 10, 1973.
Probst, Bethami. "A Shop That Makes Bread the Old-Fashioned Way." NEW YORK TIMES, December 9, 1987.

Source Citation: "Mary Hinkson." ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN CULTURE AND HISTORY. 5 vols. Macmillan, 1996. Reprinted by permission of Gale Group.