July 28, 2000 Library of Congress Joins Other Institutions and The Dance Heritage Coalition in Announcing the Identification of "America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100"

Contact: Helen Dalrymple, Library of Congress (202) 707-1940

The Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC), a national alliance of leading dance libraries and collections whose office is located in the Library of Congress, announces the 1999-2000 inaugural list of "America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100." The purpose of the initiative is to heighten public interest in the magnificence and range of America's dance heritage and the need to document and preserve it for future generations. The list, to be issued every two years, will serve as a tool to broaden appreciation of dance and to raise national consciousness about the value of dance as a core cultural asset.

Examples of some of the dance treasures named on the Coalition's "First 100" list range from dancers such as Fred Astaire and Suzanne Farrell to choreographers such as George Balanchine and Agnes de Mille to companies, schools and performance venues such as Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Bennington School of the Dance and Jacob's Pillow to dances such as the Charleston and the hula.

In the fall of 1999, the DHC invited a wide spectrum of people and organizations to nominate dance treasures from across the full range of America's dance forms and traditions -- past as well as present and indigenous as well as immigrant. The criteria for an irreplaceable dance treasure were: (1) made a significant impact on dance as an art form; (2) demonstrated artistic excellence; (3) enriched the nation's cultural heritage; (4) demonstrated the potential to enhance the lives of future generations; and (5) showed itself worthy of national and international recognition.

Some 900 nominations were submitted to the DHC, and the list was vetted through a three-stage process of selection committees consisting of experts from across the country. The final list was presented to the board of the Dance Heritage Coalition earlier this month. The result of this process -- "America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100" -- is attached, and an illustrated brochure with a fully annotated list will be available in the late fall.

The Dance Heritage Coalition board chairman, Vicky Risner, who is the Head of Acquisitions and Processing in the Music Division of the Library of Congress, said, "This list is an excellent beginning as a representation of theatrical dance in the United States. In future lists, the DHC hopes to include greater representation of the diverse ethnic communities in America. We hope that this first list engenders interest, discussion, and even controversy."

Through the generosity of the White House Millennium Council's preservation program, "Save America's Treasures," which awarded a $90,000 matching grant to the Dance Heritage Coalition, the DHC is able to award preservation prizes to three of the list's nominees as "irreplaceable treasures": the Katherine Dunham Center, East Saint Louis, Ill.; Cross-Cultural Dance Resources in Flagstaff, Ariz.; and the Halla Huhm Foundation in Honolulu. The grants will assist in the preservation of photographs, moving-image material, costumes and musical instruments.

Members of the Dance Heritage Coalition include the Library of Congress; the American Dance Festival; the New York Pubic Library Dance Division; the Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University; the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival; the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute, Ohio State University; and the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum. Sali Ann Kriegsman, former head of the dance program at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), is president of the coalition, and Elizabeth Aldrich, dance historian and choreographer, is the director.

The Dance Heritage Coalition and its initiatives are supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the NEA; the Council on Library and Information Resources; the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the Pew Charitable Trusts through its grant program, the National Initiative to Preserve America's Dance; the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; and "Save America's Treasures," a public-private partnership of the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Save America's Treasures" is administered by the National Park Service.


  • Elizabeth Aldrich, Dance Heritage Coalition (202) 707-2149
  • David Humphrey, San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum (415) 255-0142
  • Stephanie Chiuminatto, Jacob's Pillow (413) 637-1322
  • Herb Scher, New York Public Library (212) 704-8600
  • Fredric Woodbridge Wilson, Harvard Theatre Collection (617) 495-2445
  • Laura Brown, American Dance Festival (919) 684-6402
  • Patricia Charles, Ohio State University (614) 292-8835

NOTE: Contact Helen Dalrymple at (202) 707-1940 or [email protected] for electronic images of some of the dance treasures on the following list.

America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100
  • Ailey, Alvin
  • American Ballet Theatre
  • American Bandstand
  • American Dance Festival
  • Astaire, Fred
  • Atkins, Charles "Cholly"
  • Balanchine, George
  • Balasaraswati
  • Baryshnikov, Mikhail
  • Bennett, Michael
  • Bennington School of the Dance
  • Berkeley, Busby Bolm, Adolf
  • Brown, Trisha
  • Bubbles, John W.
  • Castle, Irene and Vernon
  • The Charleston
  • Chase, Lucia
  • Christensen Brothers
  • Cole, Jack
  • Coles, Honi
  • Colonel Wassily de Basil's Ballets Russes and Sergei Denham's Ballet Russe, American tours
  • Copland, Aaron
  • Cunningham, Merce
  • Dafora, Asadata
  • Dance Notation Bureau
  • Dance Theater Workshop
  • Dance Theatre of Harlem
  • Danilova, Alexandra
  • Davis, Chuck/Dance Africa
  • de Mille, Agnes
  • Denby, Edwin
  • Duncan, Isadora
  • Dunham, Katherine
  • Farrell, Suzanne
  • Federal Arts Programs: Federal Dance Project, National Endowment for the Arts
  • Fosse, Bob
  • Glover, Savion
  • Graham, Martha
  • Greco, José
  • Halprin, Anna
  • Hawkins, Erick
  • H'Doubler, Margaret
  • Hill, Martha
  • Hines, Gregory
  • Hip-Hop
  • Holm, Hanya
  • Horton, Lester
  • Hula
  • Humphrey, Doris
  • Hurok, Sol
  • Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
  • Joffrey, Robert
  • Jones, Bill T.
  • Judson Dance Theater
  • Kelly, Gene
  • Kirstein, Lincoln
  • Lane, William Henry ("Master Juba")
  • Lewitzky, Bella
  • Limón, José
  • Loring, Eugene
  • Luahine, 'Iolani
  • Matteo and Carola Goya
  • McKayle, Donald
  • Monk, Meredith
  • Moore, Lillian
  • Morris, Mark
  • Murray, Arthur
  • Native American Social and Ceremonial Traditional Dances
  • New Dance Group
  • New York City Ballet
  • New York Public Library, Dance Collection
  • Nicholas Brothers
  • Nijinska, Bronislava
  • Nikolais, Alwin
  • Nureyev, Rudolf
  • The Nutcracker
  • Page, Ruth
  • Pavlova, Anna
  • Powell, Eleanor
  • Primus, Pearl
  • Robbins, Jerome
  • Robinson, Bill "Bojangles"
  • San Francisco Ballet
  • Savoy Ballroom
  • Schönberg, Bessie
  • School of American Ballet
  • Shawn, Ted
  • Smith, Oliver
  • Sokolow, Anna
  • Square Dance
  • St. Denis, Ruth
  • Swing Dance
  • Tamiris, Helen
  • Taylor, Paul
  • Tharp, Twyla
  • Tipton, Jennifer
  • Tudor, Antony
  • Villella, Edward
  • Weidman, Charles


PR 00-099
ISSN 0731-3527