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Posts from the Jerome Robbins Dance Division

That Bacchanale Rag

"That Bacchanal Rag"

Layers on layers of references that could not fit into a caption:

The Passing Show of 1912 established the topical nature of Broadway revues. The authors, George Bronson-Howard and Harold Atteridge, combined references to contemporary politics, New York's cultural life, and both Broadway personalities and their fictional characters (in this case, producer/playwright David Belasco and Peter Grimm, a character that he wrote for David Warfield. Ned Wayburn, who 

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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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Surprises in the Jerome Robbins Audio Collection

Archival collections can harbor surprises — which makes the job of processing them fun!  The personal archives of artists not only document their careers and personal lives, but often contain material reflecting their interests and their times.

Jerome Robbins, a choreographer of prolific and complex genius whose work spanned ballet and musical theater, was a long-time supporter of the New York Public Library’s Dance Division. On 

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African American Composers and Conductors: Ford T. Dabney

The exhibition, The Great American Revue, focuses on Broadway revue series, 1907–1938. But they were not the only shows on Broadway. During those three decades, dozens of musical comedies by African American songwriters, featuring African American casts were presented successfully in Broadway theaters. They were musical comedies, not revues. They were written for (and, frequently by) the African American character comedians and had complicated plots setting 

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King of Jazz? Paul Whiteman and Hollywood's Rave Revues

Join us on Tuesday afternoon for a screening of King of Jazz (Universal, 1930) at LPA. Hollywood's Rave Revues is a film series programmed by John Calhoun in conjunction with the exhibition The Great American Revue, across the lobby in the Vincent Astor 

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Color and The Great American Revue

Design by Robert Ten Eyck Stevenson for the Greenwich Village Follies

This blog channel is inspired by the current exhibition at the Library for the Performing Arts, The Great American Revue: How Florenz Ziegfeld, George White and their Rivals Remade Broadway, which is on view through July 27, 2012. The material on display is drawn from the collections of LPA’s Research Divisions.

“Color,” our key image, is one of a 

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A New Dance Oral History Project Interview

The first of our Spring Oral History Project interviews was just recorded and it was a true breath of fresh air. On March 19 and 26, 2012, Eva Yaa Asantewaa sat down to interview Marya Warshaw.

Eva Yaa Asantewaa and Marya Warshaw in the LPA Oral History Recording Studio. (Photo by Susan Kraft)Warshaw has been the Executive/Artistic Director of BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange (formerly The Gowanus Arts Exchange) since its founding in 1991. In 1998, BAX received a "Bessie" Award for its innovative work creating a house and a true home 

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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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Greetings from the Jerome Robbins Dance Division Oral History Archive!

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, 

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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 

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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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"How can we know the dancer from the dance?"

In William Butler Yeats' poem "Among School Children" the poet famously asks "How can we know the dancer from the dance"?  Many interpret this line as an observation that some creative acts are so intimately connected to the artist who created them that separating the two is almost impossible.  However interesting or beautiful this idea might be, its reality makes the work of dance preservation a difficult one.  Literary or musical art can be transcribed to paper using a 

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My Library: An Interview with Ben West of UnsungMusicalsCo., Inc

In the heart of Lincoln Center, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, nestled between the Metropolitan Opera and the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, thrives in its role as a vibrant circuit between historical research and cutting-edge performance. And few researchers illustrate the Library's unique vitality for the performing arts community better than Ben West.

Ben West is a regular at LPA, where theatre professionals who shape the performing arts scene come for inspiration through their research in the LPA’s

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Notes From a Life-Long Learner: Social Dance

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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First in a series

Each day, professional, aspiring and student film and media-makers come through the doors of the Library for the Performing Arts (LPA) seeking resources that will aid in making their creativity become a reality.

If the 16th century focused on painting, the 19th on photography and the 20th on cinema, the 21st is all about integrated media.

Better stated, it is all about integrated performing arts media, and for the casual to the academic, there is no better place then

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Martha Graham played basketball wearing bloomers!

Along with Sarah Ziebell and Lisa Lopez, I work on the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Project, whose mission is to program and document live music (mostly jazz), theater, and dance in connection with the 10 year anniversary of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's grant program.

In addition to the programming aspects, the grant also covers the preservation of a collection of oral history interviews conducted in the early 1970s by the dance critic, Don McDonagh, on people associated with the iconic dancer/choreographer, Martha Graham.

Lucky me, I 

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One of Calvin Tompkins' Bachelors has shuffled off stage left. As the New York Times obituary makes clear, Rauschenberg's impact on the Visual and Performing Arts is pretty much incalculable.

I can't remember when I didn't know of Rauschenberg's work, having probably been exposed to a few pieces in my teens on a weekend getaway to the Art Institute of Chicago, but one of my favorite experiences that encompasses Rauschenberg and his cadre of New 

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