Carl Van Vechten photograph of Paul Taylor in George Balanchine's 'Episodes'

The Paul Taylor Dance Company announced officially today that its archives are now available to the public. The collection includes Foundation records consisting of 95 cubic feet of archives backlog and over 60 cubic feet of personal papers and artifacts from Mr. Taylor’s former West Village home.

Finding aids to the collection and other information is available online at the PTDC site and also discoverable on ArchiveGrid. The preservation project was funded through a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission.

Congratulations to all!  I look forward to digging around more on the site once my login is authenticated.

Image credit: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, LOT 12735, no. 1085 [P&P]


This one in celebration of what would have been the 117th birthday of Martha Graham.  Today’s Google Doodle is an animation created by Ryan Woodward.

You can watch the entire sequence on YouTube as well:

And I’ll let you have the fun of picking out Martha Graham in this early image from her Denishawn days, courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery.

Denishawn dancers at Mariarden (1922).

A. Gardel postcard for Fête du Narcisse in Montreux, Switzerland (1928)

In what makes an interesting side note and a nice addendum to the article on the Diaghilev exhibition in the Winter issue of Performance!, history was made recently when the first known film of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company was identified by Victoria & Albert Museum Dance Curator, Jane Pritchard, after she was directed to it by Susan Eastwood of the London Ballet Circle.  The 1928 festival footage, which had been posted on the British Pathé historical archive Web site, includes a brief rehearsal (one hopes) clip, which is believed to show Serge Lifar and the company in a sequence from Les Sylphides. Diaghilev, of course, was adamant about not allowing his company to be filmed, which makes this discovery all the more exciting.

Can spring really be far off now?

In the meantime, you can view the clip for yourselves here.

Image credit:  Digital ID” Fel_018135_RE, ETH Bibliothek Zürich, Bildarchiv

Dancer Sophia Delza, possibly in costume for Broadway production of "Fiesta" (1929)

This blog normally doesn’t cover the work of moving image archives as such, but I was especially excited to hear about a retrospective on the documentary filmmaker, Leo Hurwitz, currently running at New York’s Anthology Film Archives.  This series is presenting a wealth of rarely screened films in an effort to reexamine Hurwitz’s seminal career within the context of a “New York School of Documentary Film” that emerged during the 1930s.  You can read more about Hurwitz in this overview of the series from the Village Voice and in this PBS interview with his son, Tom (also a documentary filmmaker).

I first became aware of Leo Hurwitz and the fascinating Hurwitz family when I processed the papers of one of his sisters, dancer Sophia Delza (although the term, “dancer,” here hardly captures the protean nature of her career any more adequately than “documentary filmmaker” defines that of Leo Hurwitz), and I am extremely sorry to have to miss this series.  Leo Hurwitz also was married for many years to Jane Dudley, another prominent figure in modern dance.  Haiku (1965), a short film featuring her work will be shown tomorrow.

It’s that time of the year again.  For me to do another blog post?  No, for the Dance on Camera Festival, held mainly at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater!

There’s a very gushy promotional piece by Alastair Macaulay in yesterday’s New York Times that’s worth checking out.  The two films of many that I most would like to see are tonight’s opening night premiere of Nrityagram: For the Love of Dance (at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn) and Keep Dancing (which will be screened twice during the festival).

Yes, I am jealous!  Someone report back!

Merce Cunningham at Black Mountain College  (1948)

Merce Cunningham at Black Mountain College (1948)

We generally do not include obituaries on Ephemeral Archives, but just wanted to observe that the news of the dance giant’s death followed too closely on the heels of last month’s announcement about the Cunningham Dance Foundation’s Legacy Plan.  Merce Cunningham was a pioneer and a visionary in just about everything, including his utilization and support of archives.  Too sad.

Image credit: NYPL Digital Gallery Image ID: 1619842

Dust jacket of Romola Nijinsky's biography

Dust jacket of Romola Nijinsky's biography

Interesting little item in this week’s New Yorker in which Joan Acocella shines a light on some purported contemporary footage of Vaslav Nijinsky dancing that has been circulating on YouTube over the past year.  Perhaps not surprisingly, Acocella reveals these short film clips to be the work of a French animator, Christian Comte.  Not exactly intended as an archival hoax, but is it art?  You decide.

Image credit: NYPL Digital Gallery ID #1103814

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