Board Member News

Museum of Performance + Design launches the Christensen Family Digital Archive

On September 17, 2014, MP+D presented the launch of the Christensen Family Digital Archive. This archive was created with a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

San Francisco Ballet Archivist Supriya Wronkiewicz speaks about the Christensen Family Digital Archive, with MP+D executive director Muriel Maffre.

SFB Archivist Supriya Wronkiewicz demonstrates the new Christensen Family Digital Archive to guests at the Museum of Performance + Design.

Landing page of the Christensen Family Digital Archive.

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Nena Couch receives the 2012 Theatre Library Association's Distinguished Service Award in Performing Arts Librarianship

Theatre Library Association has selected Nena Couch, Curator of the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute at Ohio State University, to receive its 2012 Distinguished Service in Performing Arts Librarianship Award. The award is given annually to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the field. Libby Smigel, Director of the Dance Heritage Coalition observed: “One thing we mustn’t forget in our field of performing arts – the artists whose work generates the materials that we safeguard and share. Nena has been at the forefront of the shift in the field toward artist-archive partnerships and “living archives,” Nena contributed her Dance Heritage Coalition Fellow to a summer documenting the creative process of choreographer Bebe Miller. This may have been the first known occasion of a dance company having an embedded archivist!” Pictured: Susan Brady of the Beinecke Library at Yale University (left) and Nena Couch (right).

Additionally, Couch's essay, "Pauline Sherwood Townsend: American Proponent of Expression and Pageantry" was recently published in Women in the Arts in the Belle Epoque: Essays on Influential Artists, Writers and Performers (Ed. Paul Fryer. McFarland, 2012).

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Dance preservationist Norton Owen honored with ‘Dance in Focus’ film award

Norton Owen On 20 January 2012, the Dance on Camera Festival, now powering up in New York, honored Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Director of Preservation, Norton Owen, for his outstanding contribution to the dance film genre.

Said Marta Renzi, board president of the Dance Films Association, which runs the annual Lincoln center film festival: “Over the decades, this perennially boyish man has become a distinguished member of the dance film community. [We are honoring] his more than 35 years with Jacob’s Pillow in charge of the Pillow’s Archives, exhibitions, talks and documentation programs. Norton has been a faithful and avid audience member at DFA’s Dance on Camera Festival, often scouting films to be shown at the Pillow.”

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Pictured: Norton Owen, photo by David Dashiell

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Yuriko Kikuchi in her work, Shut Not Your Doors, 1946. Victoria Phillips Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

Yuriko Kikuchi in her work Shut Not Your Doors, 1946. Victoria Phillips Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

Politics and the Dancing Body
An Exhibition at the Library of Congress
Performing Arts Reading Room, Music Division
James Madison Building
16 February - 28 July, 2012

Co-curated by Elizabeth Aldrich, Library of Congress and Victoria Phillips, Columbia University

Through the medium of dance, twentieth-century American choreographers created dances that reflected the diverse palette of cultural expression. While these works celebrated pride in America's traditional music, folk and immigrant practices, and Native American rituals, choreographers were not afraid to craft dances that protested injustices or advocated reform.

Isadora Duncan declared in 1927 "I See America Dancing"-in reference to Walt Whitman's poem "I Hear America Singing-envisioning dance as a powerful tool for cultural expression. Politics and the Dancing Body explores how American choreographers between World War I through Cold War realized this vision, using dance to celebrate American culture, to voice social protest, and to raise social consciousness. The exhibition also examines how the U.S. government used dance as a vehicle for cultural diplomacy and to counter anti-American sentiment. Featuring materials drawn mostly from the rich dance, music, theater, and design collections of the Music Division of the Library of Congress, Politics and the Dancing Body demonstrates how dance became a significant voice in the twentieth century American cultural and political landscape.

Pictured Above: Yuriko Kikuchi in Shut Not Your Doors. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor (1941), the government forced Japanese and Japanese American citizens to live in "War Relocation Camps." Yuriko Kikuchi (b.1920), who would become a dancer with Martha Graham, a star on Broadway, and a respected choreographer, lived in a relocation camp. After her release, she noted that her choreography expressed "the emotional struggles of a bewildered woman--one among millions unjustly uprooted--to regain her place in society" and ended with "her rediscovery of human freedom and dignity."

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Dawn Lille of the Dance Notation Bureau authored a chapter, "Ethiopians in Israel: Their History and Their Dance from Ethnic to Contemporary," in the book Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance, edited by Judith Brin Ingber, Wayne State University Press.

Lille also published an essay in Art Times, René Blum, the Ballets Russes and Artistic Morals in relation to the recent biography of Blum by Judith Chazin Bennahum.

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Christopher Miller

Board Member Christopher Miller was recently published. His chapter, entitled "Embedded and Embodied: Dance Librarianship within the Academic Department", is included in Embedded Librarians: Moving Beyond One-Shot Instruction (eds. Kvenild and Calkins). ACRL Press. 978-0-8389-8587-8 Available at the American Library Association.

Miller's CORD paper was presented on November 18, 2011, "Intersections in Music and Dance: Lessons from the Research Archive of Gertrude Kurath"

Pictured: Christopher Miller, photo by Ilsa Bursh

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Mikhail Baryshnikov Exhibit at New York Public Library
by Molly C. Braswell
All Media NY
December 2, 2011

Famed ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov has donated more than 700 of his materials to the New York Public Library for a new exhibit, Mikhail Baryshnikov: An Archival Preview.

The display from his personal collection was originally a one-night engagement for esteemed library patrons and staff members. The rare items include photographs and videos of Baryshnikov.

New York Public Library Jerome Robbins Dance Division director Jan Schmidt organized the exhibition, which features materials from the dancer’s 10-year-old performances up until the present day.

Four videos, Early Years, Ballet in America, Broadway and Beyond and Modern Dance chronicle Baryshnikov’s profession life.

“People are loving it,” Schmidt said. “Because Mikhail Barishnikov was one of the most celebrated dancers of 20th century and his work spans most of the dance forms for stage, he really stretches himself. And he’s a beautiful dancer.”

Read the full article: Mikhail Baryshnikov Exhibit at New York Public Library

Other Sources:
Baryshnikov Packs Up His Memories in Boxes

Mikhail Baryshnikov in Spotlight at New York Public Library Exhibit

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