February 2009


A press release from the Bay Area Video Coalition received today formally announces the  “Secure Media Network” pilot project, which it is undertaking in collaboration with the Dance Heritage Coalition.  The goal is to create “a searchable, digital repository of historic dance media that can be easily accessed by scholars, artists and educators.”  We look forward to more news about this innovative and important initiative.

No time to really digest this information, but I wanted to get the news out there while you still have a little time left to celebrate the actual occasion.  A fascinating story about Mary Neal (1860-1944) appears in today’s Guardian.  It is well told by her descendant, Lucy Neal, who has been researching the life of the great-great-aunt, who was “a suffragette, social reformer and morris dance revivalist who has been almost written out of history.”  Equally compelling and filled with great content is the Web site of the Mary Neal Project, which I look forward to exploring in more depth.

Christopher J. Frith photograph of Neil Simon Theatre marquee for Roundabout Theatre Company production of "A View from the Bridge" (1998)

Christopher J. Frith photograph of Neil Simon Theatre marquee for Roundabout Theatre Company production of "A View from the Bridge" (1998)

As reported in Theatermania, the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City, with the assistance of a grant from the Leon Levy Foundation, will be launching a formal archives program.  The new archives will be under the direction of Tiffany Nixon.  Congrats to all!

Image credit: NYPL Digital Gallery ID#401153

Jerome Robbins during rehearsal for West Side Story (1957).

Jerome Robbins during rehearsal for West Side Story (1957).

Although it has been  screened recently at the Dance on Camera Festival and other venues, those of you in the Bay Area still can catch the West Coast premiere of the much anticipated documentary, Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About.  The film will be shown for free on February 5, 2009 at 7:30 P.M., not at the Museum of  Performance itself, but at the Premier Theatre, Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio (Chestnut & Lyon Streets); for reservations and directions, check here.

The rest of us will have to wait until the film is shown on public television as part of the American Masters series on February 18, 2009 (but do check your local listings); there are a few blog posts on that site to whet your appetite as well.

Image credit: NYPL Digital Gallery ID#psnypl_the_4932