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Blog Posts by Subject: Dance

Booktalking "Ballet for Martha" by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan

I was struck by the gorgeous, exalted look of the dancers in the illustration on the cover of this book. Isamu Noguchi, an artist, made the stage set for the ballet, Martha Graham was the choreographer, and Aaron Copland was the American composer who helped create the ballet Appalachian Spring. The first performance of this classic ballet was on October 30, 1944 at the Library of Congress. The three created a dance about America, a story communicated through 

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Freedom to Dance: The Mikhail Baryshnikov Archive, Part 1

Baryshnikov showed great promise at a young age.Recently, when friends ask me what collection I am working on and I give my answer — "The Mikhail Baryshnikov Archive" — I've been receiving unexpected reactions. Everyone seems to have a Baryshnikov story. People who I know have never been to the ballet, who couldn't name another dancer if pressed, have something to say. My younger friends were not even born when he 

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Booktalking "A Young Dancer: the Life of an Ailey Student" by Valerie Gladstone

Four hours of homework a night, dance three times a week... and school. But it is worth it for one thirteen-year-old dancer who has been dancing since she was four. Dancing makes her feel free, and she loves expressing her emotions through movement. Her Ailey friends keep her company in the dance studio, and she chats with another set of friends at school. She loves being in the dance studio, and she may become a 

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Homage to Jean Léon Destiné

Jean Léon Destiné, master Haitian dancer, choreographer and drummer, died on January 22, 2013. The staff members of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division mourn his passing. And as the Dance Division Curator, I will truly miss him. He was also a great friend of the Dance Division. During his long career as advocate and artist for Haitian dance he donated materials to the 

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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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Recording the Life of a Dancer

An oral history interview is a lot more than just any old conversation or sound recording. Although the definition of oral history is dynamic, it usually refers to the collecting of individual histories, according to specific ethical and methodological guidelines, and the responsible preservation and archiving of those recordings. While human history has been collected and shared orally for thousands of years, oral history as a modern organized activity is said to date only to 1948 when Allan Nevins began the now highly respected

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Dance Special Libraries and Museums

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has an extensive dance collection. I love the kinesthetic artistry of physical movement. I was curious about dance libraries and museums, and below are some that I found.

Special Libraries

from the Directory of Special Libraries and Information Centers, 40th ed., 2012

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Discovering Dance Lineages Through Oral Histories

Next week (on October 24, 26 and 27, 2012) I have the honor of performing at the Museum of Modern Art's Marron Atrium in Voluntaries by choreographer Dean Moss and visual artist, Laylah Ali. These performances are part of MoMA's Some sweet day dance exhibition series. Voluntaries examines the legacy of John Brown, a white abolitionist who attempted 

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The Speaking of Dancing Project

In the interview excerpt above, New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay discusses the challenges of writing about dance, using examples of moments in the ballets Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty that made profound impressions on him.

The theme of interpretation—in essence, how movement creates meaning—goes to the heart of dance as an art form. Interpretation comes center stage in Speaking of Dancing, a new series of interviews recorded by the Oral History Project of 

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Finale, Part I: Curtain Calls

The Great American Revue is coming to the end of its run at the Vincent Astor Gallery, LPA. Don't worry —  all of the artifacts will be returned to the Billy Rose Theatre Division, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, or Music Division, and the 

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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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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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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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