America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures
The Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC) has announced the launch of a new online exhibition, America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100. Click here
to visit the website and see the first 100.
Already available for public viewing are the “exhibit webpages” for 22 of the Treasures, featuring newly commissioned essays, bibliographies and research resources, and curated visual materials.
The full list of America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures encompasses individuals, organizations, and dance styles, and is intended to heighten public interest in the richness of America's dance heritage and the imperative to document and preserve it for future generations.
The definition of "America's dance heritage" clearly refers to anyone or any style that has had a major imact on American dance, since a number of non-Americans feature in the 100.
More than 900 nominations from across the full range of American dance artistry, forms, and traditions were submitted and vetted through a three-stage process of selection committees made up of experts from across the country.
From 2003 to 2009, the Irreplaceable Dance Treasures were celebrated in a national touring exhibition, created through the collaboration of the DHC member archives, which contributed still images and video clips from their collections. The exhibit appeared successfully at seven sites around the country, including a cultural center, libraries, and three Dance Heritage Coalition member archives.
This traveling exhibition is now a permanent online resource, which celebrates the Treasures and provides accessible scholarly writing, still and moving images, and research guides for each subject. One hundred new essays of 1,000-2,000 words have been commissioned from an array of dance scholars, academics, critics, advanced students, dancers and choreographers. Each Treasure has an individual page, with the introductions written by scholars Norton Owen and Lynn Garafola for the traveling exhibition, images and video clips, and links to the new essays and resources for further research. The exhibition is intended as an educational resource to improve dance literacy, as a tribute to the achievements and legacy of American dance, and as a sampling of the best in dance history and critical writing.
It is planned to add further essays will be added to the site in groups at the rate of around 20 per month. Each of the new essays will be accompanied by lists of selected resources for further research, including books and articles, moving image material, archives, and online resources. The final unveiling of the online exhibit, slated for September 2012, will culminate in the announcement of twelve additions to DHC’s Dance Treasures roll, each with its own “exhibit webpage.”
Already available on the site are the following essays:
Fred Astaire, by Imogen Sara Smith
Jack Cole, by Debra Levine
Aaron Copland, by George Dorris
Alexandra Danilova, by Nancy Reynolds
Chuck Davis, by Lisa Traiger
Federal Dance Project, by Ann Dils
Gregory Hines, by Constance Valis Hill
Lester Horton, by Naima Prevots
Doris Humphrey, by Marcia Siegel
Judson Dance Theater, by George Jackson
William Henry Lane (Master Juba), by Constance Valis Hill
Bella Lewitzky, by Naima Prevots
Meredith Monk, by Marcia Siegel
Lillian Moore, by Lynn Matluck Brooks
New York City Ballet, by Nancy Reynolds
Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, by Constance Valis Hill
Bessie Schönberg, by Sally Hess
Oliver Smith, by Lynn Matluck Brooks
Twyla Tharp, by Marcia Siegel
Jennifer Tipton, by Megan Slayter
Edward Villella, by Lisa Traiger
Charles Weidman, by Ann Dils and Clay Daniel
The next batch of essays will feature American Ballet Theatre, Cholly Atkins, Balasaraswati, Ballet Russe, Bennington School of Dance, Busby Berkeley, the Charleston, Lucia Chase, Merce Cunningham, the Dance Notation Bureau, Agnes De Mille, Anna Halprin, Margaret H’Doubler, Rudolf Nureyev, The Nutcracker, Pearl Primus, Jerome Robbins, San Francisco Ballet, and Antony Tudor.
The creation of this online exhibition was supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.