The Al Perryman papers document his dance career and consist of scripts for productions, programs, broadsides and playbills from plays in which Perryman performed, sketches of designs by Perryman, choreography and lighting notes, contracts and agreements, Brooklyn Dance Theatre financial and legal records, correspondence, news clippings and reviews. There are also notices, awards and programs prepared in honor of Perryman, produced after his death.
Al Perryman, African American dancer, choreographer and instructor, studied ballet, modern, jazz, tap and African dance. Born in Monroe, Louisiana in 1945, he grew up in New York City. Perryman began dancing at age three and made his television debut at nine on the "Perry Como Show" and later appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and in television specials. A versatile dancer, he performed with Dinizulu, Olatunji, Eleo Pomare, JoJo Smith, and the Brooklyn Dance Theatre which he founded in 1979. Perryman appeared on Broadway in "Purlie," "Two Gentleman of Verona," "Raisin," "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" and "The Wiz," and choreographed the Broadway musical "Amen Corner" in 1983. He taught jazz and modern dance at Iowa University, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, and the Philadelphia Dance Company, and he was the artistic director of the Brooklyn Dance Theatre. In addition, Perryman taught dance to youth at community organizations in urban areas. Perryman appeared frequently with his dance partner, Loretta Abbott. He was well known for his recreation of Earl "Snakehips" Tucker for the Brooklyn Academy of Music's production of "Dance--Black in America," as well as his dance done to "Mr. Bojangles."