Claire Helen Haywood, 62, a director and cofounder of the Capitol Ballet Company, who helped pioneer the training of blacks for classical ballet 37 years ago, died of cancer Saturday at the Washington Adventist Hospital.
Miss Haywood, who began studying ballet when she was 14, formed her own ballet school for blacks in her native Atlanta when she was 16.
In 1941, she founded the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet in Washington with her teacher, Doris W. Jones In 1961, they founded the Capitol Ballet Company.
Miss Haywood taught at the school until ill health forced her retirement last year.
In 1975, Miss Haywood and Miss Jones were the subjects of an hour-long film documentary about their struggles and achievements in training blacks for classical ballet.
Among those who attended the Jones-Haywood School are Louis Johnson, choreographer for the Broadway show, "Purlie" and the movie version of "The Wiz," and musical comedy star, Chita Rivera, who starred as Anita in the original "West Side Story" on Broadway.
Miss Haywood grew up in her native Atlanta and earned a bachelor's degree in English there in 1934 from Spelman College. In 1936, she earned a master's degree from howard University and completed residence work for a doctorate from Catholic University in 1938.
She also was an artist and her work has been shown at Martha's Vineyard, in Atlanta and locally.
She lived in Washington for about 44 years and, with her partner, Miss Jones, shared a studio/residence in Northwest Washington for many years.
Survivors include a sister, Jean H. Belcher of Atlanta, and two brothers, Mason, of New Oreans, and Carter, of Los Angeles.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Capitol Ballet Scholarship Fund, 1200 Delafield Place NW, Washington, D.C. 20011.