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:
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:
Here’s one of the organized drawers:
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!
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.
To the left is a poster from the Merce Cunningham and Dance Company. I love this design!
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.
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.
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?!
More thoughts about work in the archives coming soon!
*All photographs taken by Maureen Maryanski with the permission of the Dance Notation Bureau