Using the Archives

Uncovering these hidden collections has served as a great source of inspiration for artists and provides valuable information for scholars. Below are examples of how the collections impact these communities.

Arizona State University

Pictured: Three small Khon masks from Thailand used in classroom instruction to improve students' understanding of dance and culture in a global context. From the Allegra Fuller Snyder collection, Arizona State University.

Materials from the Allegra Fuller Snyder collection served as a window into Snyder's research and experiences as a dance ethnographer, dancer, and choreographer. In the spring of 2014, undergraduate students taking the course Dance, Culture & Global Contexts visited the Cross-Cultural Dance Resources Collections at ASU. Newly processed materials from the Allegra Fuller Snyder Papers were used for demonstration and to generate a classroom discussion on personal dance culture for a "sharing personal dance knowledge" project.

Ohio State University

Pictured: Page 189 of Cesare Negri's Le Gratie d'Amore (1602). From the Julia Sutton Collection, Lawrence & Lee Theatre Research Institute, The Ohio State University.

The Julia Sutton collection was used by an Honors History student in her thesis exploration of 16th-century dance.

The McCaghy collection is frequently used by a range of researchers from practicing dancers to academics, most recently by a scholar from the University of Alberta doing research on 19th- and early 20th-century exotic dance.

The Dance Notation Bureau collection is also heavily used. One notable use that not only explored the finding aid but allowed us to enhance the finding aid was by internationally recognized Asian dance specialist Judy Van Zile who came from University of Hawaii to consult the Carl Wolz series in the DNB collection. After working with the materials, she then made additional notes to portions of that series, and we revised the finding aid as a result – an example of expert crowd sourcing. The collection was recently used in teaching during the Labanotation Teacher’s Certification Course held at OSU in June 2014.

Materials from a number of the collections were showcased in Dancing Dimensions, an exhibition which explored the world of dance and movement arts as drawn from the collections of the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute including many different formats-original costume and scene designs, photographs, books, costumes, posters, programs, set pieces, a stage model, dance notation, teaching materials, video. The CLIR-processed collections used in the exhibition included Dalcroze School of Music, Dance Notation Bureau, Sandra Hughes, Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs, Robert Post, and Kenneth Rinker.

Museum of Performance + Design

Pictured: Lew Christensen's Nutcracker (1965) from the San Francisco Ballet Records. Photograph by Henri McDowell. Courtesy of the Museum of Performance + Design

Materials from the San Francisco Ballet (SFB) collection were used in the farewell tributes for retired dancer Damian Smith, ballet mistress Betsy Erickson, and character dancer/choreographer Val Caniparoli.

Images from SFB's past Nutcrackers were used in a promotional video and online web project.

Representatives from Pittsburgh Ballet researched materials from the 1982 production of Lew Christensen's Beauty and the Beast as they bought the production from SFB.


UCLA professor and choreographer Lionel Popkin used journals, personal papers, and photographs from the Ruth St. Denis Collection to create a new choreographic work that toured the mid-Atlantic states in 2013. Professor Popkin also used St. Denis's choreographic notes for coursework in which students attempted to reconstruct choreography from the notes. Reviews and previews of the performances are listed below.

Squires, Pamela. "In 'Ruth,' choreographer Lionel Popkin engagingly dismantles St. Denis's Orientalism."
The Washington Post 4 Mar 2013. Review.

Advance notice of performance in Pittsburgh.
"New Work Pays Homage to Modern Dance Pioneer Ruth St. Denis." East Liberty Post 27 Feb 2013.

Advance notice of performance in Philadelphia.
Salisbury, Greg. "Jewish Dancer Examines His Indian Side." Jewish Exponent 5 Mar 2013.

Totino, Adrienne. "The Kelly-Strayhorn Welcomes Lionel Popkin in 'Ruth Doesn't Live Here Anymore'." 11 Mar 2013.