Interview with Barbara Cole, August 13, 2014

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Interview with Barbara Cole, August 13, 2014
Cole, Barbara, 1928- (Interviewee)
Kraft, Susan, 1961- (Interviewer)

Dance Oral History Project

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 2014-08-13
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZMT 3-3063
Cole, Barbara, 1928- -- Interviews
Franklin, Frederic, 1914-2013
Balanchine, George
De Mille, Agnes
Tudor, Antony, 1908-1987
Maule, Michael
Pereyaslavec, Valentina
Hammerstein, Oscar, II, 1895-1960. Oklahoma!
Rodgers, Richard, 1902-1979. Oklahoma!
Wright, Robert, 1914-2005. Song of Norway
School of American Ballet
Washington School of Ballet (Washington, D.C.)
American Ballet Theatre
Ballet Arts (New York, N.Y.)
Alvin Ailey American Dance Center
Neighborhood Playhouse (New York, N.Y.)
Arena Stage (Organization : Washington, D.C.)
Adelphi University
Romeo and Juliet (Choreographic work : Tudor)
Dance teachers
Dance in motion pictures, television, etc
Ballet dancers
Oral histories
Bibliographic history: Title supplied by cataloger.
Venue: Recorded for The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts August 13, 2014 New York (N.Y.)
Funding: The creation 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 Description
Born digital
Extent: 2 audio files (approximately 1 hr., 54 min.) : digital, stereo +transcript (81 leaves)
Streaming audio file 1 (approximately 27 minutes). Barbara Cole speaks with Susan Kraft about her childhood and her studies at the Washington School of Ballet with the teachers Lisa Gardner and Mary Day during World War II; seeing the Ballet Russe perform in Washington, D.C. including her admiration of the dancers; taking a ballet class with Frederic Franklin; her experiences as an aspiring dancer in high school compared with those of todays young dancers; productions she danced in during high school; (briefly) moving to New York City after high school. Streaming audio file 2 (approximately one hour and 27 minutes). Barbara Cole speaks with Susan Kraft about her first encounters with George Balanchine while studying at the School of American Ballet and his inviting her to be in the musical comedy Song of Norway; (briefly) dancing in Song of Norway and being drawn to ballet over acting; more about her impressions of Balanchine while dancing in Song of Norway; her maternal grandmother moving to New York from Georgia to live with her; (briefly) an anecdote about her paternal grandfather; taking classes with Agnes de Mille at Ballet Arts, which led to de Mille inviting her to be in Oklahoma!; (briefly) Antony Tudors class at Ballet Arts and his invitation to her to join Ballet Theatre [later American Ballet Theatre]; her good luck as a young dancer; De Milles response when she gave notice that she was leaving Oklahoma! to join ABT [American Ballet Theatre]; her life in New York City at the time including her salary and rent; (briefly) ballet classes and teachers while first dancing with ABT; Tudor as a rehearsal director, her role as Lady Capulet in his Romeo and Juliet, and her role as the mother in Giselle; more on her experiences at ABT, especially as a member of the corps de ballet and touring; leaving ABT and auditioning with Ruth Page [for the musical comedy Music in my heart]; her roles in Music in my heart; her brief appearances doing a butterfly dance at the Latin Quarter nightclub; dancing in an early television show, the Admiral Broadway Review, at the invitation of Jimmy [James] Starbuck; her television interview segment on NBC-TV Screen Magazine and the loss of the kinescope recordings of the show; more about her experiences working on Admiral Broadway Review; (briefly) going to Europe after production on the show ended in 1949; returning from Europe to the Washington, D.C. area to take advantage of opportunities that included acting with the Arena Stage and teaching at new branch schools of the Washington Ballet; meeting her future husband Sam Folsom who invited her to dance for a fund raiser on the Patuxent Naval Air Station; (briefly) several shows she choreographed in Washington, including the pageant Faith of our fathers; (briefly) Folsoms year as a pilot in the Korean War, and upon his return, marrying and moving to Laguna Beach, California; working with Michael Kidd in his ballet On stage; (briefly) other dancers and an anecdote about Jerome Robbins; moving every two years for Folsoms military assignments including the towns they lived in and her various experiences as she continued to teach ballet; living in Norway and her brief involvement with the Norwegian [National] Ballet [Norske Opera & Ballett]; Folsoms retirement from the military, his subsequent work with Pan Am [Pan American World Airways, Inc.], and the familys travels; (briefly) teaching at a school on Long Island (N.Y.) under André Eglevksy; beginning to teach at the Harkness Dance Center and the influence of the ballet teacher, Valentina Pereyaslavec; a brief anecdote about an article about her as a teacher at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center; more about teaching and her students, especially a period when she taught simultaneously at Adelphi University, the Ailey Center, and at Harkness; teaching for 35 years at the Neighborhood Playhouse and the range of student experiences there; a brief anecdote about setting the dream ballet from Oklahoma! on her students; performing in the dream ballet on another occasion as Laurey with Michael Maule as her partner; (briefly) speaks about her travel agency that she opened with the intention to assist dance companies; her activities as a volunteer in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division at the Library for the Performing Arts; her upcoming move to California and her grandchildren.
Type of Resource
Sound recording
RLIN/OCLC: 950610080
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20966635
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 1c8d7400-2c59-0136-cdf4-0bd5fcbb1971
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

  • 2014: Created
  • 2019: Digitized
  • 2023: Found by you!
  • 2024

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Barbara Cole" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 2014.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Barbara Cole" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed September 22, 2023.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (2014). Interview with Barbara Cole Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (sound recording) Interview with Barbara Cole, (2014)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=September 22, 2023 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Interview with Barbara Cole