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Posts from the Jerome Robbins Dance Division

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 ›

Traditional Dance of Mexico Photographs on Display at LPA

The photographs of MEXICO PROFUNDO “LIGHT AND SHADOWS” are a new acquisition of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library. A selection of the photographs are currently on view in the third floor reading room of the Library for Performing Arts.Read More ›

Big Deal: Researching Bob Fosse at the Library

The life and career of Fosse, the only director to win the triple crown of show business awards in one year (an Oscar for Cabaret, a Tony Award for Pippin, and an Emmy Award for Liza With a Z—all in 1973) is well-documented through the holdings of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (LPA) and elsewhere. Clippings, reviews, posters and lobby cards, Playbills and programs—all the standard theatrical ephemera—on Fosse's shows and films are easily available in the Billy Rose Theatre Division and Jerome Robbins Dance Division. Read More ›

Time Machine: Interstitial Moment, Real News for Time Travelers

With all of my past allusions to time travel, the fictional trope, I thought it was time that I accounted for my flippancy with some hard time travel news.Read More ›

Time Machine: Redacted by Time

One of my colleagues, speaking of our collection of unique recordings at the Library for the Performing Arts, has said that, “all of our recordings are made by professionals, but recording was not their profession.” These recordists are authors, dancers, actors, musicians, vocalists, and choreographers to name a few. What they share is a need to create a record that can document works that take place in time and space.Read More ›

Jerome Robbins Dance Division Annual Report FY 2013 Now Available

The Jerome Robbins Dance Division’s latest Annual Report FY 2013 is now online on the Library’s website documenting another full and active year for the Dance Division. The number of public programs produced by the Dance Division this year was exceptional and included three Flamenco programs, three African programs with Robert Farris Thompson, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence and Djoniba Mouflet, and the program with Princess Norodom Buppha Devi in conversation with Peter Sellars. Read More ›

Florence Vandamm: Dance Photographer?

The representation of the professional and artistic career of Florence Vandamm has a major gap, which we are doing our best to fill in. Her London scrapbook goes from 1908–1915. The Vandamm Theatrical Photographs collection documents her work in New York City, from 1924 on. We have filled in some of the gap with the Sybil Thorndike material (see earlier posts) and discoveries of images printed in magazines, such as British and New York Vogue, Vanity Fair and The Spur.Read More ›

Oscar Nomination for Foreign Film of The Missing Picture, Directed by Rithy Panh

The Dance Division wishes to express our great joy for the Oscar nomination in the category of Foreign Film for The Missing Picture, directed by Rithy Panh. "This haunting, at times shocking movie—part memoir, part indictment—fills the void suggested by its title. With extraordinary grace, Rithy Panhs tells his story and that of his ravaged country," wrote Mahnola Dargis in The New York Times, September 26, 2013.Read More ›

A Philadelphia Collaboration: The Pinto Brothers' Designs for Catherine Littlefield’s Philadelphia Ballet Company

A Philadelphia Collaboration: The Pinto Brothers’ Designs for Catherine Littlefield’s Philadelphia Ballet Company, a newly installed exhibit in Jerome Robbins Dance Division, features a variety of drawings, costume sketches and set designs by Salvatore (1905-66) and Angelo (1908-94) Pinto commissioned by Catherine Littlefield (1905-51) for the Philadelphia Ballet Company’s productions of Barn Dance and Terminal. Read More ›

Lincoln Kirstein's Greatest Treasure Hunt and Find

The Monuments Men was one of the top films again last week, bringing to light the incredible true story of the museum professionals (art historians, curators, professors, conservators) who joined the Allied army's Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (MFAA), risking their lives to rescue art from thievery and bombing during World War II.Read More ›

The Holy Grail of the Percussion World, Part 1

William F. Ludwig himself put it best when he said, “On February 9th, 1964, a new musical event burst from the TV screens across America. The Beatles had arrived, featuring Ringo Starr and his Ludwig Black Oyster drums. Literally overnight everyone wanted a drum set like Ringo’s. The drum boom was born!”Read More ›

Memorial for Jean Léon Destiné at 92nd Street Y

A memorial is being held for Jean Léon Destiné, master Haitian dancer, choreographer and drummer, who passed on January 22, 2013. This will be at the 92nd Street Y on January 24, 2014, during their program Fridays at Noon: The Legacy of Jean-Léon Destiné. Read More ›

Khmer Dance Project Videos Available Online

One of the stunning new collections from the Jerome Robbins Dance Division now available in the Library’s Digital Collections is the Khmer Dance Project (KDP). Funded by a grant from the Anne Hendricks Bass Foundation, the KDP began in 2008 when the Center for Khmer Studies partnered with the Jerome Robbins Dance Division to interview and film the three generations of artists - including dancers, musicians and singers, as well as embroiderers and dressers - who kept dance alive during and in the wake of the Khmer Rouge regime. The New York Public Library offers streaming video of all 

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Those Mysterious Shadowy Dancers

This post answers a question about the image that the Library’s web page has been using when it highlights the Vandamm exhibition, Pioneering Poet of Light. I was thrilled when the web editors selected it, since it illustrates the title so well. So, here’s an extended caption, with musical accompaniment.

Three’s a Crowd was a revue, presented in the 1930-1931 season. Like The Band Wagon in last week's post, it was choreographed by the brilliantly innovative Albertina Rasch and paired a young Broadway/vaudeville veteran with a European ballet 

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"Hey Up There" Looking Down on Dancers

“Hey up there”

Broadway precision chorus lines were a staple of musical comedies and revues. A straight line of precision tappers, kickers or steppers could excite the audience in the orchestra, looking slightly up, or balcony, from which they were looking slightly down. But Broadway-trained Hollywood dance directors were giving audiences a multitude of angled points-of-view thanks to cameras and booms.

In the 1930s, the Vandamms went all out to give 

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Over 4,000 Dance Prints and Designs Now Available

The Jerome Robbins Dance Division just completed a two year project to catalog our backlog of dance related artwork. We are thrilled to announce that a total of 4,349 objects were cataloged and are now available to the public for research. Retired staff member Susan Au was hired for this project and she researched, cataloged, and rehoused these materials. This blog post is taken from her final report on the project. This project was made possible through funds generously donated from the Friends of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, which is co-chaired by Anne Bass and Caroline Cronson. Read More ›

The Line King's Vandamms

It has been a while since the last blog post. I have been busy with the installation and opening tours related to our final Fall exhibition, The Line Kings’ Library: Al Hirschfeld at The NYPL, which is on view in the Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery here through January 4, 2014. It, the Vandamm exhibit and Michael Peto: Stage in 

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Or She to Hecuba... Vandamm's Greek Plays

Thorndike's 1919 production of The Trojan WomenDuring the War, Florence Vandamm had not lost her skill at showing character and movement. Her career was, in many ways, redefined by the portraits commissioned by Suffragist actress Sybil Thorndike in 1919. She photographed the cast of the 1919-1920 Holborn Empire (Theater) season of classical Greek and modern plays presented by Sybil Thorndike and Lewis Casson.

The images were used for press reproduction and in the season program. Thorndike chose to present the Gilbert Murray translations of The Trojan Women and 

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A Vandamm Postcard from London

Before leaving London in 1923, Florence Vandamm photographed Sybil Thorndike in at least five additional roles. Thorndike was known for her ability to play comedy and tragedy, so there was a wide range. She appeared in the suffrage play Jane Clegg for Edith Craig's Pioneer Players, 1922, reminding her audience that conditions remained despite the political victory. Thorndike also played in and presented modern comedies, such as Advertising April in 1923.

Theater promotional postcards were re-emerging after World War I restrictions on dark room materials.  

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Lamine Thiam's Dance Oral History Interview

Lamine Thiam teaching dance classThis past spring in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, we were very pleased to produce an inspiring Oral History Project interview with Lamine Thiam. A world-renowned dancer, choreographer, drummer and actor, Mr. Thiam specializes in West African Dance from his native Sénégal and neighboring countries. We digitally filmed Carolyn Webb's interview with Mr. Thiam, so that it is now among the first dance videos to 

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