Interview with William Bales, February 23, March 5 and 25, and April 18, 1977
NamesBales, William, 1910-1990 (Interviewee)Tobias, Tobi (Interviewer)
Dance Oral History Project
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1977-02-23Date Created: 1977-03-05Date Created: 1977-03-25Date Created: 1977-04-18
Library locationsJerome Robbins Dance DivisionShelf locator: *MGZT 5-968 (former)Shelf locator: *MGZTO 5-968
TopicsBales, William, 1910-1990Weidman, CharlesHolm, Hanya, 1893-1992Limón, JoséLawrence, PaulineShearer, SybilHawkins, ErickLitz, Katherine, -1978Hunt, ValerieVan Fleet, Jo, 1914-1996Leigh, Robert D. (Robert Devore), 1890-Humphrey, Doris, 1895-1958Humphrey-Weidman Dance CompanyBennington CollegeState University of New York College at PurchaseNew dance (Choreographic work : Humphrey)
NotesBibliographic history: Title supplied by cataloger.Source characteristics: Sound quality is good. There is occasional noise including "tape hiss" as well as occasional short gaps, but the speakers' voices are clear and easily intelligible.Venue: Recorded for The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts February 23, March 5 and 25, and April 18, 1977 New York (N.Y.)Funding: The conservation and cataloging of this recording was made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The support of the National Endowment for the Arts is also gratefully acknowledged.
Physical DescriptionAudiotape reelExtent: 3 audiotape reels (approximately 9 hours) : analog, 1.875 ips, half-track, polyester; 5 in.
DescriptionStreaming file 1, February 23, 1977 (approximately one hour and 37 minutes). William Bales speaks with Tobi Tobias about his family background and childhood in Carnegie, Pennsylvania; his first dance lessons; studying dance and performing while a student at the University of Pittsburgh; participating in literary and theatrical circles; his mother's family; reasons Fred Astaire was such an exceptional dancer; Cecil Kitkat; his time at Carnegie Tech [the Carnegie Institute of Technology]; teaching at the Irene Kaufmann Settlement.
Streaming file 2, February 23 and March 5, 1977 (approximately one hour and 37 minutes). William Bales continues to speak with Tobi Tobias about his teaching, performing, and choreographing at the Irene Kaufmann Settlement and at Carnegie Tech; more on Cecil Kitkat; meeting Martha Hill; his impressions of Ted Shawn and his Men Dancers; moving to New York to dance for the Humphrey-Weidman Dance Company and taking class with José Limón; Charles Weidman's American saga; Doris Humphrey's and Charles Weidman's New dance [the fourth of seven sections was choreographed by Weidman]; Humphrey's and Weidman's respective styles; Humphrey's use of boxes in her trilogy: New dance, With my red fires, and Theater piece[, no 2]; Humphrey as a dancer and as a person; Pauline Lawrence; anecdotes about Humphrey and Martha Graham; more on Humphrey, as an artist and as a person.
Streaming file 3, March 5, 1977 (approximately one hour and 38 minutes). William Bales continues to speak with Tobi Tobias about Doris Humphrey as an artist and as a person; José Limón including Humphrey's contribution to his Moor's pavane and his role in pulling her out of retirement; Humphrey's son, Charles [Humphrey Woodford]; Charles Weidman including his relationships, respectively, with Limón and with Humphrey; his working methods; an anecdote about Weidman and Sybil Shearer; more on Limón; Pauline Lawrence including her stories about Denishawn; dancers' use of weight in early modern dance; Humphrey's teaching of studies as contrasted with Martha Graham's teaching of technique; his impressions of Graham's choreography and the Graham dancers, including Graham, herself; reminiscences of his summer at Camp Tamiment; Erick Hawkins, as a choreographer and as a dancer; Graham's recent choreography and current dancers; more on dancers' use of their weight; the Humphrey-Weidman Dance Company's United States tour [ends abruptly but continues on streaming file 4].
Streaming file 4, March 5 and 25, 1977 (approximately one hour and 37 minutes). William Bales continues to speak with Tobi Tobias about the Humphrey-Weidman Dance Company's United States tour; [end of March 5 session; beginning of March 25 session]; Katie [Katherine] Litz; Sybil Shearer [including a variation on an anecdote about her and Charles Weidman recounted earlier, in streaming file 3]; a concert performance by Shearer of her own work including the varied responses of Bales, John Martin, and Valerie Hunt; more on Litz including her gift for comedy; other dancers in the [Humphrey-Weidman Dance] Company including Bea [Beatrice] Seckler and Letitia Ide; more on José Limón, as a person and as a choreographer; Charles Weidman's death and his memorial service; working with Hanya Holm [ends abruptly but continues on streaming file 5].
Streaming file 5, March 25 and April 18, 1977 (approximately one hour and 38 minutes). William Bales continues to speak with Tobi Tobias about Hanya Holm; leaving the Humphrey-Weidman Dance Company for economic reasons; being hired to teach at Bennington College; [March 25 session ends and April 18 session begins]; performing at Radio City [Music Hall] including an anecdote about Jerome Andrews; his wife, Jo Van Fleet; their son Michael; Martha Hill and her role in Bales' becoming a teacher at Bennington College; his time at Bennington College including his enjoyment of the vibrant intellectual and artistic environment; Robert Devore Leigh, in particular his aptitude for spotting talent [ends abruptly].
Streaming file 6, April 18, 1977 (approximately 55 minutes). William Bales continues to speak with Tobi Tobias about Bennington College; his view of the dance program at the University of California, Los Angeles; Valerie Hunt and her understanding of movement; the purpose of dance education, in particular as contrasted with dance training; teaching at [the State University of New York], Purchase, including his views on the teaching of movement as compared to technique and style; the adverse influence of the Pauline doctrine of original sin on the acceptance of dance in Europe and the United States and the importance of recognizing the body's movement as a type of communication; Bales' satisfaction with the physical facilities for the dance program at Purchase.
Type of ResourceSound recording
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 80312044 NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b12118825Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 5fb3b610-b30e-0133-bfc0-3c07547a230f
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