Dance consists of portraits and views of African American and African professional dancers, views of performances, views of dance classes, and general views of African Americans dancing. The collection dates from 1850 to 1995, with the bulk of the images being from the 1930s to the 1960s. Much of the collection depicts dance styles and documents African and African American dance companies; depictions of African dance are limited; many dance styles have limited or no represention. Images include studio portraits, publicity photographs of dance company productions and dance performances, and candid views. Images of dancers and choreographers may also be found in the Portrait Collection and in the Joe Nash Black Dance collection.
The dance styles series (1850s-1990s) depicts various dance styles which include African interpretation, ballet, the cakewalk, Caribbean interpretation, chorus lines, modern dance, tap dance, and different forms of social dancing. Modern dance includes African-American dancers associated with Martha Graham and Paul Taylor. Social dancing includes the Lindy hop, which is primarily depicted in showcases and dance contests. Other forms of social dancing depicted include costume and formal balls, dance parties, and barn dances. African interpretation consists of dancers from Mali, as well as African-American performers. The series also consists of a few depictions of nineteenth century dancers.
The dance companies series (1937-1990s) consists of publicity photographs and views of productions of African-American and African dance troupes, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Charles Moore Dance Company, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Les Ballets Africains (Guinea), and L'Ensemble National du Mali.
Content: Some photographs bear photographer's or photography studio's handstamp or blind stamp on verso or recto. Some images have notations on recto or verso; some photographs have captions printed on recto. Some photographs are duplicates. Some photographs are inscribed or autographed. Some images are cropped or have cropping marks.
Content: Collection includes works by Salima Ali, Otis C. Butler, Elcha, Murray Korman, James Kriegsman, Cecil Layne, Nicholas Muray, and Martha Swope, among others.
Extent: 451 items (3.5 lin. ft., 3 boxes) 36 photographic prints : gelatin silver, b ; 42 x 32 cm. and smaller. 409 photographic prints : gelatin silver, b ; 26 x 21 cm. and smaller. 2 photomechanical prints : halftone, b ; 24 x 37 cm. and smaller. 1 photographic print : col. ; 21 x 26 cm. 2 photographic postcards : b ; 9 x 14 cm. 1 postcard : col. ; 23 x 15 cm.