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Reminiscences, 1979
Bird, Dorothy, 1912-1996 (Speaker)

Dance Audio Archive

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1979
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZTCO 3-905
Bird, Dorothy, 1912-1996
Graham, Martha
De Mille, Agnes
Modern dance -- Technique -- Graham
Oral histories
Personal recordings
Content: Title supplied by cataloger.
Venue: Recorded by Dorothy Bird 1979
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.
Acquisition: Gift Dorothy Bird
Physical Description
Extent: 2 audiocassettes (approximately 2 hr., 5 min.)
Sound quality is fair. The speaker's voice is soft but for the most part easily intelligible. There are occasional short gaps.
Dorothy Bird reminisces about dancing for Martha Graham and Graham technique. Streaming audio file 1 (approximately 46 minutes). Dorothy Bird reminisces about rehearsing with Martha Graham in the 1930s; Graham's dispensing with certain social conventions and how this contributed to her creativity; the atmosphere at George Balanchine's rehearsals compared to Graham's; the time-consuming process of inventing and developing Graham technique; making costumes and leotards; the annual performances at the Guild Theatre; the lecture-demonstrations at the New School for Social Research [New School University as of 1997] including an anecdote about Michel Fokine arguing with Graham; reasons she was unhappy including the unpleasant atmosphere, and her decision to leave [ends abruptly]. Streaming audio file 2 (approximately 47 minutes). Dorothy Bird reminisces about the dancer Grace Cornell; use of the parallel line in Graham technique; Agnes de Mille's respect for Martha Graham; Bird's experience as a dancer in the musical comedy Hooray for what! including performing in Under the green apple tree; Agnes de Mille's role in raising the status of dancers in Broadway musicals; the musical comedy Lady in the dark and Albertina Rasch [ends abruptly]. Bird's reminiscences include numerous examples of how the female dancers were treated by management. Streaming audio file 3 (approximately 16 minutes). Dorothy Bird speaks about various elements of Graham technique including triplets, skips; tilts, and falls [ends abruptly but continues on streaming audio file 4]. Streaming audio file 4 (approximately 16 minutes).; Dorothy Bird speaks about various elements of Graham technique including types of jumps, running in place, leaps, articulation of the feet, and pliés [ends abruptly].
Type of Resource
Sound recording
RLIN/OCLC: 81938790
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b12118767
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): a9908610-7960-0136-fa44-598eb76b88ad
Rights Statement
The copyright and related rights status of this item has been reviewed by The New York Public Library, but we were unable to make a conclusive determination as to the copyright status of the item. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use.

Item timeline of events

  • 1912: Creator Born
  • 1979: Created
  • 1996: Creator Died
  • 2018: Digitized
  • 2022: Found by you!
  • 2023

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Reminiscences" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1979.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Reminiscences" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 17, 2022.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (1979). Reminiscences Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (sound recording) Reminiscences, (1979)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=May 17, 2022 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>