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Posts by Arlene Yu

100 Years (Or So) Ago in Dance: La Marseillaise

Isadora Duncan received a huge ovation for La Marseillaise. She was to repeat the performance again several weeks later, and a reviewer in the French theater journal La Rampe exclaimed breathlessly that "she lifted souls to the sublime and left them trembling with excitement."Read More ›

100 Years (Or So) Ago in Dance: Florence Mills

Florence Mills was famed for her birdlike voice as well as her spontaneous dancing during her numbers. She was one of the most popular entertainers of the early 1920s in New York, London, and Paris, and yet, perhaps because she died at age 32, her fame has not survived. Read More ›

100 Years (Or So) Ago in Dance: Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn

The 1915-1916 tour, which included the Palace Theatre run, was the first to feature dancers from the Ruth St. Denis School of Dancing and its Related Arts, which was founded in the summer of 1915 and which became known, in a mingling of the two founders’ names, as Denishawn.Read More ›

100 Years (Or So) Ago in Dance: The Whirl of Life

Happy New Year! Rather than look back at 2015, we’re going back 100 years for the first in a series of blog  posts featuring events in dance history from (about) 100 years ago. And I’m starting with something that is personally meaningful to me, as a ballroom dancer: Vernon and Irene Castle in the silent film, The Whirl of Life.

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Dance Your Way Through Fall

Summer is almost formally over and our fall work is already in full swing. There are a plethora of events at the New York Public Library revolving around dance to take you through the end of the year, including a conversation with choreographer and MacArthur Foundation Fellow Alexei Ratmansky and new Saturday brunch events at the Library for the Performing Arts! Get them on your calendar now!Read More ›

Dance on Fire: Spring Programs at the Library for the Performing Arts

The Dance Division is ON FIRE this spring with programs and exhibitions featuring dance from around the world, all at the Library for the Performing Arts! An exhibit on flamenco, 100 Years of Flamenco in New York, will open on March 12 in the Vincent Astor Gallery, and another on Cambodian ballet, Memory Preserved: Glass Plate Photographs of the Royal Cambodian Dancers, will open on March 28 in the Plaza Corridor Gallery. Be sure to visit to check those 

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So You Think You Can Find Dance: A Guide to Research

Dance is a subject on many people’s minds these days, with television series such as Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and America’s Best Dance Crew becoming fixtures on network and cable channels. Now there’s also Breaking Pointe, Bunheads, and

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150 Years of Loïe Fuller, Modern Dance Pioneer

150 years after her birth in Fullersburg, Illinois on January 15, 1862, Marie Louise "Loïe" Fuller is less well known than her peers. Yet her work, flowing and abstract and free from the constraints of classical ballet, predated and paved the way for more familiar modern dance pioneers like Isadora Duncan and Ruth St. Denis.

On April 12, the

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Celebrating the Life of Janet Collins, an African-American Pioneer in Dance

Night's Dancer: The Life of Janet Collins, by Yaël Tamar Lewin

The headlines about her death called her the first African American ballerina of the Metropolitan Opera, but Janet Collins was much more than that. A new biography, Night’s Dancer: The Life of 

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Sneaking a Peek at Baryshnikov

Mikhail Baryshnikov, age 19A few weeks ago, NYPL's Jerome Robbins Dance Division made headlines when it received a major gift of materials from

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We Don't Just Read Books...

... sometimes we write them too!

NYPL is proud to announce a new book written by a Library staff member on the subject of film noir, just in time for the latest exhibition at the Library for the Performing ArtsOut of the shadows: The Fashion of Film Noir

Imogen Sara Smith, a cataloger and coordinator for the Speaking of Dancing

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Dancing Fools for April Fool's

In honor of April Fool's Day, I bring you an image of a jester and a ballerina which I found the other day in the Dance Division's photo collection. We don't know much about this photo, except that it's an example of the kinds of variety dancing performed in the early part of the 20th century.

It turns out there are lots of fools in the Dance Division (not among the staff, of course)!

We have

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Yes, Cuba! Cuban Ballet in the Dance Division

Last Wednesday's New York Times article about the upcoming ­¡Sí Cuba! festival reminded me of a recent addition to the Dance Division of a film most of you have never heard of: it's a brand new documentary called Alicia Alonso: Orbit of a Legend, about the

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