Popular Balanchine dossiers

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Collection Data

Popular Balanchine Dossiers document the Paris and London revues, Broadway work, and London and Hollywood films choreographed by George Balanchine, 1929-1954. This collection includes research by 20 principal researchers and includes binders with some original but mostly photocopied artifacts for the many titles, interviews with participants, and some scripts and music.
George Balanchine Foundation (Creator)
Conyers, Claude (Author)
Reynolds, Nancy (Author)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1927 - 2004
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: (S) *MGZMD 146
Choreographers -- United States
Theatrical productions -- New York (State) -- New York -- 20th century
Balanchine, George
Aldrich, Elizabeth
Banes, Sally
Caines, Christopher
Chazin-Bennahum, Judith
Conyers, Claude
DeFrantz, Thomas
Dorris, George E.
Fullington, Doug
Garafola, Lynn
Genné, Beth
Hardy, Camille
Hill, Constance Valis
Horwitz, Dawn Lille
Hunt, Marilyn, 1937-
Mattingly, Kate
Newman, Barbara, 1944-
Palfy, Barbara
Ross, Janice
Sommer, Sally R.
Design drawings
transcriptions (documents)
Biographical/historical: Popular Balanchine was designed to document the works choreographed by George Balanchine for the popular stage and the movie screen. From 1927 to 1931, Balanchine staged dances and musical numbers for revues, variety shows, and operettas in London and Paris as well as creating choreography for Dark Red Roses, among one of the earliest feature-length talking motion pictures made in England. In the United States, from 1936 to 1954, he worked with Vernon Duke, John Murray Anderson, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, George Abbott, George Gershwin, Joshua Logan, Frederick Loewe, Irving Berlin, John Latouche, Felix Brentano, Alan Jay Lerner, Frank Loesser, and Harold Arlen - leading figures of American musical theater - to create two revues, fourteen musical comedies, four operettas, and five Hollywood films that are among the milestones of American popular culture. He also collaborated with Igor Stravinsky on the famous Ballet of the Elephantsfor Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Of Balanchine’s enormous choreographic output, these popular works have received far less critical and scholarly attention than have his ballets, but we recognize today that they are an important part of his oeuvre and that they are, indeed, significant works in terms of America’s cultural heritage. To preserve what is possible of this heritage, the George Balanchine Foundation undertook a major research initiative in 1999, realizing that it was time to focus on Balanchine’s popular works, while some of the people involved with these productions - onstage, backstage, and in the audience - were still alive. Nancy Reynolds, director of research for the foundation, originated the project and engaged Claude Conyers as project director. The mandate given him was to establish and supervise a team of dance and theater historians to research, assemble, and organize a collection of primary source materials on Mr. Balanchine’s popular work. The results of this effort, conducted over a period of five years, constitute a unique collection of documents, printed materials, photographs, memorabilia, audio and video recordings, and transcripts of interviews with participants in a major period in the history of American musical theater. Summary of Research Methods Popular Balanchine was directed by Claude Conyers, a former publishing executive, who functioned as chief administrator of the project as well as director of research. Since the project covered a diverse body of material and required particular skill in doing original research, he was able to model it on similar projects in scholarly and professional reference publishing, adapting systems and procedures used in the development and production of large-scale historical dictionaries and encyclopedias to the documentation of popular theatrical works. On behalf of the George Balanchine Foundation, Mr. Conyers formed a multi-tiered team of dance and theater historians and scholars to research and document some thirty-five productions that George Balanchine choreographed
Content: The materials collected for the “Popular Balanchine” project include essays written on individual works and summary essays on the project (see “Overview of the Project) or collected titles in a particular medium (see “Hollywood Films”). Included also are correspondence, print materials such as playbills, souvenir programs, reviews, articles, book excerpts; graphic materials such as photographs, drawings, set designs, and costume sketches; and other materials such as music (both published and unpublished, some annotated), production notes, prompt books, scripts, and scenarios. Almost every title includes oral history interview transcripts and some include typescripts of published or archival materials, interview summaries, sources of original materials, and compilations of notices and reviews. Most of the materials are collected in binders while some dossiers include additional oversize materials. The first item in most binders is an inventory of the dossier’s contents. The bulk of the materials are reproductions (photocopies or digital scans) but the collection does include original artifacts such as playbills, souvenir programs, photographs, music, print excerpts, and some correspondence. Original audiotapes and videotapes (both in digital and/or VHS formats) were included in the individual dossiers but these, and other audio/visual materials, have been removed from the dossiers and are available separately.
Content: The Popular Balanchine dossiers document the Paris and London reviews, Broadway work, and London and Hollywood films choreographed by George Balanchine, 1927-1954. The collection includes research by twenty principal researchers and includes binders with some original but primarily photocopied artifacts for the many titles, interviews with participants, and some scripts and music
Content: Researchers include Claude Conyers, Judith Chazin Bennahum, Barbara Newman, Beth Genné, Lynn Garafola, Constance Valis Hill, Camille Hardy, Barbara Palfy, Marilyn Hunt, Kate Mattingly, Dawn Lille, George Dorris, Christopher Caines, Doug Fullington, Janice Ross, Elizabeth Aldrich, Sally Sommer, Tommy DeFrantz, and Sally Banes
Acquisition: Gift; The George Balanchine Foundation
Physical Description
Extent: 42 boxes
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b16759438
MSS Unit ID: 19846
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): eea06020-1329-0139-b3ee-0242ac110004
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