Interview with Mary Ellen Moylan: and Mary Ellen Moylan reminisces about her early career, 1979-1980
NamesMoylan, Mary Ellen (Interviewee)Hering, Doris (Interviewer)
Dance Oral History Project
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1979-05 - 1980-02
Library locationsJerome Robbins Dance DivisionShelf locator: *MGZTC 3-591, reels 1-5 (former)
TopicsBalanchine, GeorgeMoylan, Mary Ellen -- InterviewsBallet Russe de Monte CarloSchool of American BalletAmerican Ballet TheatreBallet Society (New York, N.Y.)Metropolitan Opera (New York, N.Y.). BalletBallet imperial (Choreographic work : Balanchine)
NotesContent: Interview with Mary Ellen Moylan conducted by Doris Hering in New York City on May 15 and 16, 1979 (streaming files 1-7); and a recording, made on February 16, 1980, of Mary Ellen Moylan reminiscing about her career (streaming files 8-9); for The New York Public Library, Jerome Robbins Dance Division Oral History Project. Moylan's reminiscences in streaming files 8-9, which sound as if it is being read from a prepared text, contain little substantive material that is not found in streaming files 1-7. However, the material is organized chronologically and is more precise regarding dates.Source characteristics: Sound quality is fair. The recording is marred by occasional extraneous noise as well as "tape hiss" and occasional short gaps. However, the speakers' voices are easily intelligible.Venue: Recorded by Doris Hering and by Mary Ellen Moylan, respectively, for The New York Public Library, Jerome Robbins Dance Division Oral History Project May 15 and 16, 1979 and February 16, 1980 New York (N.Y.).Funding: The conservation and cataloging of this recording was made possible in part by the Barbara Goldsmith Conservation Division of the New York Public Library as well as 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 DescriptionAudiocassetteExtent: 5 audiocassettes (approximately 4 hr., 18 min.) : analog, polyester; quarter-track
DescriptionStreaming file 1, May 15, 1979 (approximately 45 minutes). Mary Ellen Moylan speaks with Doris Herring about her reasons for retiring from dancing; some of her partners including Nicky [Nicholas] Magallanes; an anecdote about dancing with José Limón in the Broadway musical comedy Rosalinda; briefly, George Balanchine; her family background and how she first came to study ballet; taking classes at the School of American Ballet; her concurrent debuts in Rosalinda and in Balanchine's Ballet imperial; [while providing commentary, Moylan reads aloud excerpts from the diary she kept at the time, including entries about her classes and Balanchine]; her thoughts on having retired when she did; more on Balanchine and her life as a young dancer [recording ends abruptly].
Streaming file 2, May 15, 1979 (approximately 31 minutes). Mary Ellen Moylan speaks with Doris Hering about the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo including her memories of Bronislava Nijinska and her work Etude; some of her roles during her time with the company; Igor Shvetzov's ballet Red poppy; life on tour; more on her roles including as Zobeide in Schéhérazade and Mary Magdalene in Massine's Seventh symphony; her personal life including her first husband's early death, her remarriage, and her training as an accountant [ends abruptly but continues on streaming file 3].
Streaming file 3, May 15, 1979 (approximately 31 minutes). Mary Ellen Moylan continues to speak with Doris Hering about her personal life including her move to Pleasantville, New York; teaching dance and managing the book store at Bennett College in Millbrook, New York; her time as business manager at the Poughkeepsie Ballet Theater; more on her personal life including her religious background; her thoughts on Balanchine's Concerto barocco; the original costumes as compared with the new ones in Balanchine's Serenade; dancing to Stravinsky's music [ends abruptly but continues on streaming file 4].
Streaming file 4, May 15 and 16, 1979 (approximately 31 minutes). Mary Ellen Moylan continues to speak with Doris Hering about dancing to Stravinsky's music, in Balanchine's Duo concertant; diet; working with Antony Tudor, on the musical comedy The day before spring; Agnes de Mille and the solo she choreographed for Moylan, for the television series Omnibus; Ballet Society; performing in Balanchine's Four temperaments and in his Divertimento [May 15 session ends and May 16 session begins]; working with choreographers including Balanchine; her work in musical comedies including an anecdote about the advice Tudor gave her [ends abruptly but continues on streaming file 5].
Streaming file 5, May 16, 1979 (approximately 31 minutes). Mary Ellen Moylan speaks with Doris Hering about her trip to Paris in 1949 including her classes with Madame [Lubov] Egorova and [Olga] Preobajenska, and meeting Roland Petit; some of her most memorable performances; her Irish ancestry; her memories of Sergei Denham, Lincoln Kirstein, and Balanchine; joining Ballet Theatre [later American Ballet Theatre] in 1950 and performing on tour in London; costumes; her impressions of Lucia Chase [ends abruptly but continues on streaming file 6].
Streaming file 6, May 16, 1979 (approximately 32 minutes). Mary Ellen Moylan continues to speak with Doris Hering about her time at Ballet Theatre including methods for learning roles and the lack of coaching; critics; touring in Europe with American Ballet Theatre; her injury on tour and the very slow recovery process; joining the Metropolitan Opera Ballet [ends abruptly but continues on streaming file 7].
Streaming file 7, May 16, 1979 (approximately 16 minutes). Mary Ellen Moylan speaks with Doris Hering about her time at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet including her memories of Geoffrey Holder; leaving the Metropolitan Opera Ballet to get married; her thoughts on the future.
Streaming file 8, February 16, 1980 (approximately 31 minutes). [This section sounds as if it is being read from a prepared text and includes the reading aloud of diary excerpts.] Mary Ellen Moylan reminisces about her career including her family background and early training, in Florida and at the School of American Ballet including her teachers; her concurrent debuts, with José Limón in the Broadway musical comedy Rosalinda, and with Nicholas Magallanes in Ballet imperial; Limón as a partner; the premiere of Ballet imperial including an anecdote about the kindness of John Martin; [while providing commentary, Moylan reads excerpts aloud from the diary she had kept at the time, including entries about her classes, a production of Apollo starring André Eglevsky and Vera Zorina, and conversations with Balanchine about becoming a member of Ballet Theatre or Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo]; [ends abruptly but continues on streaming file 9].
Streaming file 9, February 16, 1989 (approximately 10 minutes). [This section sounds as if it is being read from a prepared text.] Mary Ellen Moylan continues to reminisce about her life when she was both performing in Rosalinda and taking class at the School of American Ballet; joining Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, with Balanchine's approval; some of her roles.
Type of ResourceSound recording
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 84470527 NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b12118411Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): da8772d0-b2aa-0133-0795-60f81dd2b63c
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