John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (U.S.)

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Free to Dance: The African-American Presence in Modern Dance was a three-part television documentary co-produced by the American Dance Festival and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in association with Thirteen/WNET New York. The series aired on PBS' Great Performances: Dance in America in 2001 and won an Emmy for Outstanding Cultural and Artistic Programming-Long Form. It chronicled the role of African-American choreographers and dancers in the development of modern dance as an American art form. Dance masterpieces by African-American choreographers were filmed expressly for the series, including the works of Katherine Dunham ( Barrelhouse Blues ), Pearl Primus ( Strange Fruit ), Donald McKayle ( Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder ), Talley Beatty ( Mourner's Bench ), Bill T. Jones ( D-Man in the Waters ), Alvin Ailey ( Revelations ), and many others.

Free to Dance was an outgrowth of the American Dance Festival's Black Tradition in American Modern Dance (BTAMD) program. Initiated in 1987 to preserve, present, and interpret significant dances by African-American choreographers, BTAMD reconstructed and presented twenty-three dances in danger of being lost. BTAMD's national touring initiative presented performances throughout the US by African-American dance companies, including Chuck Davis' African American Dance Ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Philadanco, and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. Scholars touring with the companies contextualized and interpreted the cultural and aesthetic significance of the dances in panel discussions.

The success of the BTAMD project led to the creation of Free to Dance, and the American Dance Festival began fund raising efforts in 1993. Fund raising, research, and conceptual development continued through 1997. Full production commenced in 1998, including scripting, securing the rights to archival footage and photos, and the filming of interviews, performances, and scene recreations. Editing was completed in 2001.

From the guide to the Free to Dance Records, 1987-2004, (American Dance Festival Archives)

The Kennedy Center, located on the banks of the Potomac River near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, opened to the public in September 1971. But its roots date back to 1958, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed bipartisan legislation creating a National Cultural Center. In honor of Eisenhower's vision for such a facility, one of the Kennedy Center's theaters was named for him. The National Cultural Center Act included four basic components: it authorized the Center's construction, spelled out an artistic mandate to present a wide variety of both classical and contemporary performances, specified an educational mission for the Center, and stated that the Center was to be an independent facility, self-sustaining and privately funded. As a result of this last stipulation, a mammoth fundraising campaign began immediately following the Act's passage into law. (from the Kennedy Center website, viewed June 3, 2005)

From the description of Belknap Collection, Theatre and theatre groups 1962- : Kennedy Center. (University of Florida). WorldCat record id: 60554394

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Allen, Ralph G.,. Burlesque collection of Ralph G. Allen, 1905-1962. University of Pittsburgh
referencedIn New York Shakespeare Festival Records. Series V: General Manager's Files, 1960-1991 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn New Mexico Alliance for Arts Education Records, 1973-1993 University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
referencedIn Balanchine Celebration (Washington, D.C. : 2000) [clippings] New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
referencedIn James Parton papers, 1914-1986. Houghton Library
referencedIn Ralph Becker Papers. 1957 - 1987. Personal Papers
creatorOf John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (U.S.). Correspondence to Van Wyck Brooks, 1960-1962. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Billy Taylor Papers, 1942-2004 Library of Congress. Music Division
referencedIn Nelson, Virginia. Virginia Nelson playbills collection, 1939-2007. George Mason University, Fenwick Library
referencedIn Hearst Metrotone News, Inc., Collection. 1937 - 1942. News of the Day Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1963 - 12/1967. News of the Day (Dec. 6)
referencedIn Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Executive Office Building tape number 275
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Staff Secretary. 1976 - 1981. Presidential Files. 1977 - 1981. 2/18/77 [2]
creatorOf Shaw Program Collection. The Philanderer / by G. B. Shaw - program of presentation by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 1972. University of Guelph
referencedIn Phillip E. Areeda Records. 1953 - 1961. Office Records of Phillip E. Areeda
referencedIn Lindsay Crouse papers, 1967-1987. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Subject Files, 1962 - 1964 John F. Kennedy Library
referencedIn Velina Hasu Houston Papers, 1986-1998 The Huntington Library
referencedIn Sherlock Holmes : programs and ephemera, 1901-1994. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
creatorOf Kennedy Center Files, 1974 - 1976 Gerald R. Ford Library
referencedIn Eberhart, Richard, 1904-2005. Papers. 1925-1975. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Howe, Mary, 1882-1964. Mary Howe papers, 1884-1972. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn New York Shakespeare Festival Records. Series IV: Production Materials, 1958-1992 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Executive Office Building tape number 310
referencedIn Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Oval Office tape number 570 Richard Nixon Library
referencedIn 10/10/78 - No. 2 [2] Jimmy Carter Library
creatorOf John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (U.S.). Belknap Collection, Theatre and theatre groups 1962- : Kennedy Center. University of Florida
creatorOf Free to Dance Records, 1987-2004 American Dance Festival Archives
referencedIn Sherlock's last case : programs and ephemera, 1984-1997. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn Balanchine Celebration (Washington, D.C. : 2000) [clippings]. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Bagdasian, Harry Michael. Harry M. Bagdasian Theatre Posters collection, 1970-1985 (bulk 1972-1980). University of Maryland (College Park, Md.). Libraries
referencedIn John Ehle Papers, 1918-1993 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
creatorOf John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (U.S.). Correspondence : with Eugene Ormandy, 1978-1985. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Heckscher, August, 1913-1997. August Heckscher papers, 1931-1999 (bulk 1948-1976). Library of Congress
referencedIn Vera Zorina papers, 1910-2001 (inclusive), 1933-2001 (bulk). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn John Willard and Alice Sheets Marriott papers, 1924-1989 J. Willard Marriott Library, University of UtahManuscripts Division
creatorOf New Mexico Alliance for Arts Education. Records, 1973-1993. University of New Mexico-Main Campus
referencedIn 3/28/77 [2] Jimmy Carter Library
referencedIn August Heckscher Papers, 1931-1999, (bulk 1948-1976) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750,. Bach partita : choreographic and research materials used by Twyla Tharp for her choreographic work, 1984. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn Stone, Edward Durell. John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C. [model]. Centre canadien d'architecture, | Canadian Centre for Architecture | CCA
referencedIn Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Executive Office Building tape number 277
referencedIn Joyce Trisler papers, 1950-1979 The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
creatorOf John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (U.S.). Correspondence with American Musicological Society, 1972. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Barrymore, Ethel, 1879-1959. Richard L. Coe Theater Programs Collection playbill advertisements and miscellany. Library of Congress
referencedIn Marriott, J. Willard (John Willard), 1900-1985. Papers, 1930-1984. Landmarks of Science Microform Service
creatorOf Loesser, Frank, 1910-1969. How to succeed in business without really trying! / music and lyrics by Frank Loesser ; book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert ; based on the book by Shepherd Mead, 1996. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Zeder, Suzan. Do not go gentle : Draft 8 March 18, 1993 / by Suzan L. Zeder. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn Coleman, John Bennett. Correspondence to Eugene Ormandy, 1982. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Wittgraf, Michael, 1962-. The nature of a circle : the cycle of Lewis and Clark : string quartet / by Michael Wittgraf. University of North Dakota, Chester Fritz Library
referencedIn Heckert, Richard Edwin, 1924-2010. Papers, 1973-1992. Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Shouse, Catherine Filene, 1896-1994. Papers, 1878-1998 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Taylor, Billy, 1921-2010. Billy Taylor papers, 1942-2004. Library of Congress
referencedIn R. Philip Hanes Papers, 1928-2010 David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Thomas Skelton papers, circa 1953-1994 The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
referencedIn Roderick Nordell papers, 1948-2000. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Theater newsletters, circa 1946-1982. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn McShain, John, 1898-1989. Papers, 1925-1989. Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Pew Charitable Trusts. Grant products reports, 1988-2002. Hagley Museum & Library
creatorOf Mark Taper Forum (Los Angeles, Calif.). Programs collection III : Miscellaneous theaters, [ca. 1865]-[ongoing]. University of Pittsburgh
creatorOf John F. Kennedy Center. [John F. Kennedy Center Collection, 1963]. Western Michigan University, Dwight B. Waldo Library
referencedIn Jefferson, Edward Graham, 1921-2006. Edward Graham Jefferson papers, 1962-1992 (bulk, 1979-1987) Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Gore Vidal papers, 1850-2020 (inclusive), 1936-2008 (bulk) Houghton Library
referencedIn A. J. Antoon papers, 1961-1991 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Simpson, Alan K. Office Files, 1959-1997. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center
referencedIn Records Relating to the Film John F. Kennedy Years of Lighting, Day of Drums, 1964 - 1972 United States. National Archives and Records Administration
referencedIn Harry M. Bagdasian Theatre Posters Collection, 1970-1985, 1972-1980 Special Collections in Performing Arts
referencedIn Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Oval Office tape number 596
referencedIn New York Shakespeare Festival records. Series VI: Development Office, 1954-1989 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Lucille Lortel papers, 1902-2000 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (U.S.). Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1959-1983. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Policy Files, 1963 - 1968 United States. National Archives and Records Administration
referencedIn Keiser, Elizabeth. Elizabeth Keiser papers concerning a symposium regarding government sponsorship of the arts, 1958-1960. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Papers, (inclusive), (bulk), 1939-2004, 1955-1989 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Mary Howe papers, 1884-1972 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
contributorOf Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. White House telephone tape number 11
referencedIn George Balanchine archive, 1924-1989 (inclusive), 1961-1983 (bulk). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Sondheim, Stephen. Bounce / music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim ; book by John Weidman, 2003. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary. Office of the Secretary (Alexander Wetmore, Leonard Carmichael), 1949-1964 Records. Smithsonian Institution Archives
creatorOf John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (U.S.). Institutional file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Becker, Ellie, 1933-. Ellie Becker Foggy Bottom collection, 1982-2006. Historical Society of Washington, Dc
referencedIn Tennessee Williams papers, 1932-1983. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, Ralph G., person
associatedWith American Dance Festival corporateBody
associatedWith Anna Chennault person
associatedWith Antoon, A. J. (Alfred Joseph), 1944-1992 person
associatedWith Bagdasian, Harry Michael. person
correspondedWith Balanchine, George. person
associatedWith Becker, Ellie, 1933- person
associatedWith Belknap Collection for the Performing Arts. corporateBody
associatedWith Calderon, Rima. person
associatedWith Coleman, John Bennett. person
associatedWith Crouse, Lindsay. person
associatedWith Dowling, Robert W. person
associatedWith Ducas, Dorothy, 1904- person
associatedWith Eberhart, Richard, 1904-2005. person
associatedWith Ehle, John, 1925- person
associatedWith Feinstein, Martin, 1921-2006. person
associatedWith Fleming, Arthur S. person
associatedWith George A. Smathers Libraries. Dept. of Special and Area Studies Collections. corporateBody
associatedWith Hanes, R. Philip, 1926- person
associatedWith Heckert, Richard Edwin, 1924-2010. person
associatedWith Heckscher, August, 1913-1997. person
correspondedWith Houston, Velina Hasu person
associatedWith Howe, Mary, 1882-1964. person
associatedWith Hume, Paul, 1915-2001. person
associatedWith Jefferson, Edward G. (Edward Graham), 1921- person
associatedWith John F. Kennedy Center (Kalamazoo, Mich.). corporateBody
associatedWith Keiser, Elizabeth. person
associatedWith Kiefer, Jarold A. person
associatedWith Loesser, Frank, 1910-1969. person
associatedWith Lortel, Lucille person
associatedWith Lukinson, Sara. person
associatedWith Marriott, J. Willard (John Willard), 1900-1985 person
associatedWith Marriott, J. Willard (John Willard), 1900-1985. person
associatedWith McShain, John, 1898-1989. person
associatedWith Nelson, Virginia. person
associatedWith New Mexico Alliance for Arts Education. corporateBody
associatedWith New York Shakespeare Festival corporateBody
associatedWith Nordell, Roderick. person
associatedWith Ormandy, Eugene, 1899-1985. person
associatedWith Papp, Joseph person
associatedWith Parton, James, 1912- person
associatedWith Pew Charitable Trusts. corporateBody
associatedWith Price, Leontyne. person
associatedWith Richmond, Frederick W. person
hasMember Ripley, S. Dillon (Sidney Dillon), 1913-2001 person
associatedWith Saddler, Donald person
associatedWith Saudek, Robert, 1911-1997. person
associatedWith Shaw Program Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Shouse, Catherine Filene, 1896-1994. person
associatedWith Simpson, Alan K. person
associatedWith Skelton, Thomas R person
associatedWith Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary. corporateBody
associatedWith Sondheim, Stephen. person
associatedWith Stevens, George, 1932- person
associatedWith Stevens, Roger L. person
associatedWith Taylor, Billy, 1921-2010. person
associatedWith Thirteen/WNET New York corporateBody
associatedWith Trisler, Joyce, 1934-1979 person
correspondedWith Vidal, Gore, 1925- person
associatedWith Vidal, Gore, 1925- person
associatedWith Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983 person
associatedWith Wittgraf, Michael, 1962- person
associatedWith Zeder, Suzan. person
correspondedWith Zorina, Vera. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Michigan--Kalamazoo
Washington (D.C.)
Subject
Schools
Music archives
Opera--Archives
Theater--Archives
Orchestral music--Archives
Dance--Archives
Musical theater--Archives
Centers for the performing arts--Archives
Children with mental disabilities
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

1971

Americans

Information

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SNAC ID: 84217257