Dayton natives Hermene (1902-1986) and Josephine Schwarz (1908-2004) were pioneers of dance who founded one of the first regional ballet companies in the country. In 1927, they opened the Schwarz School of Dance, which eventually became the Dayton Ballet in 1978. Josephine’s choreography blended classical ballet traditions and contemporary dance, creating a fusion of styles that through her students and other companies shaped the development of dance in the United States. The sisters are credited with introducing organized dance to African-American and underserved children in the Dayton area. As part of the sisters’ legacy, Josephine created a fund at the Dayton Foundation in memory of Hermene to support Dayton arts and artists.