National Museum of Dance Collection
National Museum of Dance Collection
National Museum of Dance Collection

Malcolm McCormick

Malcolm McCormick cultivated his career in New York as a costume designer for ballet, modern dance, and theater while simultaneously pursuing a career as a dancer beginning in the late 1940s. His earliest commissions included costumes for the Metropolitan Opera, for which he danced for nearly a decade. His first designs for modern dance, the genre for which he would receive his greatest notoriety, included Joyce Trisler’s The Bewitched: A Dance Satire (1959) and José Limón’s The Demon (1963). McCormick went on to establish the design program in the dance department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1968 and forged a career as a respected lecturer and writer on dance. In 2016, McCormick gave the Museum a substantial collection of more than two hundred and fifty costume sketches representing the entire scope of his career, from his first designs for the United Scenic Artists exam in the early 1950s to commissioned work for companies such as Ballet Souffle, Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Pilobolus; work created for students and visiting artists at UCLA; and designs for choreographers such as Murray Louis. The collection also includes set designs and dozens of photographs of his costumes realized and in performance. These pieces comprised the Museum’s Art in the Foyer exhibition Design for Dance: The Malcolm McCormick Collection in the thirtieth anniversary season. McCormick curated the very first exhibition at the Museum in the 1986 preview season, Dressing the Ballet: Costumes from America’s Most Celebrated Companies.