Indiana Follows Me Everywhere…

1963 program from Bolshoi Ballet performance

Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “I don’t know what it is about Hoosiers, but wherever you go there is always a Hoosier doing something very important there.” Well, I haven’t found any Hoosiers in the DNB’s Research Files, but Indiana is definitely present in the archive! If you look closely at the 1963 program for the Bolshoi Ballet pictured to the right, this performance took place at the Indiana University Auditorium. Several other programs from the IU Auditorium in the 1960s and 1970s also showed up in the Research Files – mostly for major ballet companies. All of these were also stamped with an address:

I’m not sure yet what the deeper connection between the DNB and Indiana is, but these programs made their way to the Bureau some how – and I look forward to researching their journey! Here’s another of the programs from the IU Auditorium:

The National Ballet of Canada

I spent 7 of the last 8 years in Bloomington, Indiana attending IU for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I even spent some time working as a student volunteer in the beautiful IU Auditorium – which is also where I saw some great dance companies on tour, including the Martha Graham Company, Bill T. Jones, and Urban Bush Women. Bloomington is a wonderful place that I love dearly, so it was quite exciting to come across something so comforting and familiar on my very first day of work in New York City!

So, to give an update on the processing happening at the DNB, Mary and I spent about 2 weeks physically arranging/organizing and rehousing the Research Files into acid-free folders. We were able to consolidate files into 6 drawers in 2 filing cabinets:

DNB Research Files filing cabinets

Here’s one of the organized drawers:

DNB Research Files

Now we’ve moved on to creating the finding aids in excel spreadsheets that will be converted into EAD by UCLA. (Thanks, UCLA!)

We’ve had some great finds during the 2 weeks of going through each file. Below are some pictures of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them, too!

Souvenir program for the Kurt Jooss Company ca. 1939

To the left is the front cover of a beautiful, hand-printed souvenir program of the Ballet Jooss circa 1939. Included in this program is a reprinted letter from Rudolf von Laban to Jooss from 1938. Below is a close up of the program’s back cover that features five dancing couples. Photographs are featured throughout the program illustrating Jooss’ repertory, with exquisite images present from performances of his pacifist masterpiece The Green Table.

Souvenir program – Kurt Jooss Company – ca. 1939

Merce Cunningham and Dance Company poster

To the left is a poster from the Merce Cunningham and Dance Company. I love this design!

Handmade spinner for the Labanotation Game

Ann Hutchinson Guest, co-founder of the DNB, created several handouts, illustrations, and course materials to help educated people of all ages about Labanotation. Some of the items that we’ve unearthed in the archives have been quite adorable. For example: the Labanotation Game, which consists of handmade cards, game board, and spinner.

With the instructions for the game, Guest also included drawings of dancers and movers.

Illustration from Game instructions

Many items at the DNB also consist of Guest’s drawings and illustrations. Another example is the “Fairy Tale for Children,” which explains the significance of some notation symbols through a story and accompanying illustrations.

Fairy Tale for Children by Ann Hutchinson Guest

Then there is this wonderful gem: Robert Hutchinson’s 1957 Labanotation Song! Below are the lyrics, and the music is also included in the archives. A new hit song, perhaps?!

Labanotation Song by Robert Hutchinson, 1957

More thoughts about work in the archives coming soon!


*All photographs taken by Maureen Maryanski with the permission of the Dance Notation Bureau

This entry was posted in Dance, Dance Heritage Coalition, Dance Notation Bureau, History, Labanotation, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Indiana Follows Me Everywhere…

  1. katkimbell says:

    Hi Maureen – Wonderful to read about your connection to Indiana. I grew up in Crawfordsville. Hope your stint at DNB is going well, my professor worked in the office many years ago and just told me a story of the day Jerry Garcia visited the DNB! Good luck, Kat Bell, 2011 DHC Fellow

    • memaryanski says:

      Thanks, Kat! I had no idea you were from Indiana too! Everything went splendidly at the DNB – loved every minute of it. I start with a company tomorrow, which I’m really looking forward to. Hope everything is well with you. Cheers, Maureen.

  2. Arlena Grassham says:

    filing cabinets that are made from solid steel are the best in my opinion because they last very long and they provide more security compared to wooden filing cabinets. ,”‘:;

    Kind regards

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