The Jerome Robbins Dance Division Oral History Archive is home to unique and rare dance-related audio recordings that capture the voices of dancers, choreographers, composers, lighting designers, costume designers, and dance scholars from the mid-20th Century through today. These recordings encompass a wide range of original and donated content, including Dance Division-produced oral history interviews, radio show broadcasts, speeches, lecture/demonstrations, panel discussions, dance classes/workshops, and personal recordings.
As the Oral History Archive assistant at the Library, one exciting aspect of my job is to help transform the collection's fragile audio recordings into the stable formats that you can listen to and use for your dance history research.
Some of my favorite, recently preserved gems include:
- A 1964 radio broadcast of Ruth St. Denis speaking about the influence of Indian culture and Hindu temple dances on her life and work;
- Martha Graham in her mid-career, ca. 1951, lecturing on her philosophies of dance artistry to a live audience;
- Katherine Dunham interviews from 1999 & 2000, part of the Popular Balanchine project, regarding her collaboration with George Balanchine on the 1940-1941 Broadway show Cabin in the Sky.
You can listen to these recordings, and many others from the collection, at the Library for the Performing Arts listening stations on the third floor.
Stay tuned for future updates on newly available audio recordings that make dance history come to life!