1986 Preview Season

Made in America: Modern Dance Then and Now

Tracking, Tracing, Marking, Pacing

Dressing the Ballet: Costumes from America’s Most Celebrated Companies

The National Museum of Dance: Development of a Dream

 

1987 Grand Opening Season

Shall We Dance? Costumes from Broadway and Hollywood

Portraiture in Dance: Photographs by Kenn Duncan

Shaping the American Dance Dream: The Founders
Located in the Museum’s north gallery, Shaping the American Dance Dream: The Founders was the inaugural Hall of Fame exhibition, curated by Susan Au and designed by Marty Bronson and Associates with the close cooperation of Genevieve Oswald and the Dance Division of the New York Public Library. This exhibition highlighted 1987 Hall of Fame inductees Fred Astaire, George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Isadora Duncan, Katherine Dunham, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Lincoln Kirstein, Catherine Littlefield, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, and Charles Weidman.

 

1988

The Fugitive Gesture: Masterpieces of Dance Photography 1849 to the Present

Ballet for a City and a Nation: Forty Years of the New York City Ballet
The first exhibition at the Museum to highlight NYCB, Ballet for a City and a Nation, was curated by dance scholar Susan Au, together with founding board member and president of Ballet Society Nancy Norman Lassalle and Edward Bigelow, veteran NYCB dancer and company manager. Ballet for a City and a Nation celebrated the fortieth anniversary of NYCB in 1988 through an extensive installation that included some thirty costumes designed by luminaries such as Barbara Karinska, Cecil Beaton, and Santo Loquasto; Rouben Ter‑Arutunian’s original 1964 set designs for George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker; international tour posters for performances in Russia, France, Israel, Japan, and beyond from the 1950s and 60s; and numerous photographs.

Shaping the American Dance Dream: The Founders
This exhibition highlighted 1988 Hall of Fame inductees Busby Berkeley, Lucia Chase, Hanya Holm, John Martin, and Antony Tudor.

 

1989

Black Dance in Photographs

Great Ballet Prints of the Romantic Era

The Fugitive Gesture: Masterpieces of Dance Photography 1849 to the Present

Ballet for a City and a Nation: Forty Years of the New York City Ballet

Figures in Motion – outdoor exhibition of Judith Brown’s welded steel sculpture

Shaping the American Dance Dream

This exhibition highlighted 1989 Hall of Fame inductee Jerome Robbins.

 

1990

100 Years of Russian Ballet: 1830–1930
100 Years of Russian Ballet: 1830–1930 was a monumental and unprecedented loan from the collection of the Leningrad State Museum of Theater and Music. Some four hundred works of art, never before seen in the United States, comprised this exhibition that documented the golden age of Russian ballet and served as a vital cultural exchange at the end of the Cold War. The spokesperson for 100 Years of Russian Ballet was ballerina and actress Tamara Geva, the first wife of George Balanchine and the daughter of the founder of the Leningrad State Museum of Theater and Music. It was curated by an international team of dance scholars and first displayed at Eduard Nakhamkin Fine Arts in Manhattan before traveling to Saratoga Springs. Highlights of the installation included personal objects from Igor Stravinsky and Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina’s ballet slippers, original costumes from the 1890 premiere of The Sleeping Beauty, and scenery and costume designs by Léon Bakst among numerous others. Also included were several Serge Diaghilev–era sets loaned by prima ballerina Natalia Makarova.

Les Ballets 1933
Les Ballets 1933 was a traveling exhibition loaned from The Royal Pavilion Art Gallery and Museums in Brighton, England and curated by Jane Pritchard. Through original designs, costumes, props, and photographs, the history of the short‑lived troupe was revealed and contextualized. Les Ballets 1933 was George Balanchine’s first company in the West, founded together with the poet and librettist Boris Kochno, and sponsored by Edward James whose collection this display drew from. Collaborators of Les Ballets 1933 were among the most avant‑garde of the time: Christian Bérard, André Derain, Pavel Tchelitchew, Darius Milhaud, Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, and Barbara Karinska. Dancers included Tamara Toumanova, Tilly Losch, Diana Gould, and Kyra Blanc. It was solely because of the artistry of Les Ballets 1933 that Balanchine was first invited by Lincoln Kirstein to establish himself and his career in the United States, a pivotal moment in the history of American ballet. The Museum enhanced the installation with artifacts from additional sources such as the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Anna Kisselgoff described the exhibition as “trailblazing” in The New York Times. It traveled on to the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center and was the exhibition for which the Museum produced its first catalog.

Shaping the American Dance Dream

 

1991

Ted Shawn: A Centennial Tribute to the Father of American Dance
Several large‑scale exhibitions honoring individual Hall of Fame inductees were created throughout the 1990s. Norton Owen, director of preservation at Jacob’s Pillow, and designer Kevan Moss together created six of the most compelling installations over the course of the decade, distinguished by their scholarship and innovative design. Ted Shawn was among the first group of Hall of Fame inductees in 1987, and was honored with a retrospective at the Museum in 1991, Ted Shawn: A Centennial Tribute to the Father of American Dance. Examining the life and career of Shawn through the Denishawn Era, Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers, and Jacob’s Pillow, the exhibition featured original sets and costumes, artifacts, film, posters, and photographs.

Rites of Passage: 25 Years of the School of American Ballet Workshop Performances

Barbara Morgan: Prints, Drawings, Watercolors, and Photographs

Shaping the American Dance Dream

 

1992

Body and Soul: The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

The Still Point: Images from Dancers’ Bodies – Original Drawings by Betti Franceschi

Ted Shawn: A Centennial Tribute to the Father of American Dance

 

1993

Balanchine: A Celebration of His Work

Merce Cunningham: Points in Time
This Hall of Fame exhibition showcased Merce Cunningham’s extraordinary body of work and his collaborations with artists such as John Cage, Frank Stella, Jasper Johns, Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, and Robert Rauschenberg from the 1940s to the 1990s. Original works of art including sets, backdrops, and costumes were featured, in addition to sound recordings, video, posters, photographs, and even Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds. This exhibition was curated by Norton Owen and designed by Kevan Moss.

 

1994

Balanchine: A Celebration of His Work

Bronislava Nijinska: Classic on the Edge
Drawn in part from the personal archive of the dancer and choreographer, Bronislava Nijinska: Classic on the Edge notably presented original works of art in costume and set designs, rare photographs, memorabilia, and film. This Hall of Fame exhibition was curated by Norton Owen and designed by Kevan Moss.

 

1995

Firebird and the New York City Ballet 1949–1995
Co‑curated by Nancy Norman Lassalle and Edward Bigelow, Firebird and the New York City Ballet 1949–1995 was considered a landmark exhibition at the Museum. Through original sketches, costumes, photographs, posters, playbills, memorabilia, scenery, and props, this exhibition traced the history of the ballet back to its earliest performance by Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1910, who first commissioned the score from Igor Stravinsky, forward to the 1970 NYCB recension of Firebird, and ultimately to the present day. The show highlighted the collaboration between Stravinsky, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Marc Chagall, and Barbara Karinska, and explored the various executions of the original Chagall costume designs and the subtle changes in choreography over these years. Maria Tallchief, the first Firebird in 1949, attended the exhibition opening, as did former principal dancer Karin von Aroldingen who performed the role throughout the 1970s. Marc Chagall’s granddaughter Bella Meyer also attended the opening reception and the performance of Firebird at SPAC that followed.

Paul Taylor: In His Own Words

Francisco Moncion: A Life in Dance and Art

 

1996

Paul Sanasardo in Max Waldman’s View

Firebird and the New York City Ballet 1949 – 1995

 

1997

The Dance Heroes of José Limón

Visible Breath: Images of Dance – photographs by William R. Boorstein

 

1998

Jean Erdman: Masks, Costumes, and Stagecraft from her World of Dance and Myth
The 1998 season celebrated three pioneers of modern dance in exhibition programming—Jean Erdman, Anna Sokolow, and José Limón. Erdman was honored with a substantial exhibition, Jean Erdman: Masks, Costumes and Stagecraft from her World of Dance and Myth. Curated by Nancy Allison, artistic director of Jean Erdman Dance, this installation incorporated original costumes, dynamic scores, designs, photographs, and masks to illustrate and examine her singular perspective, choreography, and aesthetic. Vital collaborations with her husband, the mythologist Joseph Campbell, and others such as John Cage, Lou Harrison, e.e. cummings, and Maya Deren were articulated. Masks created for Erdman’s dance works by Ralph Lee, former Erdman dancer and artistic director of the Mettawee River Theatre Company, were featured throughout the exhibition. Jean Erdman attended the opening and Nancy Allison led an open master class in Erdman technique and choreography.

Anna Sokolow: The Rebellious Spirit

Dancers of Limón: Photographs by Susan Rubin

 

1999

Arthur Mitchell: From Harlem with Love

New York City Ballet: Our Time in Saratoga Springs

The Energy of Dance: Michael Philip Manheim Photography

 

2000

An American Mosaic: Dance Photos by Steven Caras

New York City Ballet: Our Time in Saratoga Springs

The Energy of Dance: Michael Philip Mannheim Photography

 

2001

Spaces of the Mind: Isamu Noguchi’s Dance Designs

The Fugitive Gesture: Masterpieces of Dance Photography 1849 to the Present – a reprise of the 1988 exhibition

An American Mosaic: Dance Photos by Steven Caras

 

2002

Classic Black
Classic Black, an exhibition organized by the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library from an oral history project conducted there, was presented at the Museum in 2002. Through photographs from the Library and costumes supplemented by the Museum from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, NYCB, and American Ballet Theatre, Classic Black conveyed the history of African American ballet dancers in this country and the innovative teachers and choreographers who created a niche for these dancers in the world of classical ballet between 1930 and 1970. Dancers highlighted included mavericks such as Raven Wilkinson, Arthur Mitchell, Talley Beatty, Judith Jamison, Louis Johnson, and Doris Jones. Veteran dancers Virginia Johnson, Delores Brown Abelson, and Walter Nicks comprised a panel discussion at the exhibition opening, led by the exhibition’s curator, Madeleine Nichols.

The Art of Light-The Art of Dance – photographs by Lawrence White

Visions of Dance – photographs by David Michael

Spaces of the Mind: Isamu Noguchi’s Dance Designs

The Fugitive Gesture: Masterpieces of Dance Photography 1849 to the Present – a reprise of the 1988 exhibition

 

2003

Child Performers in Tap: 1900-1950

The Art of Light-The Art of Dance – photographs by Lawrence White

 

2004

Saratoga Remembers Balanchine

The Enduring Legacy of George Balanchine

Golden Land/Golden Dreams: Images of Sacred Temple Dances and Dancers from the Kingdom of Cambodia – photographs by Mark Sadan

30 Years of Ballet Barbie Dolls: A Child’s Introduction to Story Ballets

Child Performers in Tap: 1900-1950

Dance Garden – Bogusław Lustyk – outdoor exhibition

 

2005

Golden Land/Golden Dreams: Images of Sacred Temple Dances and Dancers from the Kingdom of Cambodia – photographs by Mark Sadan

Child Performers in Tap: 1900-1950

Dance Through the Eyes of World Youth

Dancing Rebels: The New Dance Group
It is believed that all modern dancers in this country can trace their artistic lineage back to the New Dance Group, a revolutionary community of young dancers, choreographers, and teachers committed to upholding social justice through their work. Founded in 1932 in New York City, the New Dance Group taught scores of students of all races, religions, and financial circumstance, and provided a place where dancers could make and perform new work, among them artists such as Donald McKayle, Pearl Primus, Hadassah, Eve Gentry, Sophie Maslow, and Daniel Nagrin. This watershed exhibition was curated by Carolyn Adams and Julie Adams Strandberg, founders of the American Dance Legacy Initiative and students of the New Dance Group. It conveyed the abundant history of the collective from the 1930s to the 1950s through costumes, soundscapes, set pieces, programs, posters, and performance video culled from original members and dance companies across the country. The New Dance Group was inducted into the Hall of Fame the following year. Mary Anthony, Jean‑Léon Destiné, Joseph Gifford, and Muriel Mannings, four of its earliest artists, attended the induction ceremony and accepted the award. Dancing Rebels: The New Dance Group inspired a robust schedule of programming that included an unprecedented five‑day conference offering lecture demonstrations, master classes, workshops, panel discussions, and dance concerts.

 

2006

Dance of the Iroquois

Memoirs of a Lake George Showboat Performer: Edith Tulloch de Polac

Dance Across New York

The Young Dancer: Photography by Mark Sadan

Eleanor Rigby’s Resurrection: Images Inspired by Music’s Icons – photographs by Mark Andrew of choreography by Beth Hartle

Dancing Rebels: The New Dance Group

Art in the Foyer:

Dance Photography: On the Edge – Lawrence White

Dance: East Meets West – 20 Years of Dance Photography by Frank Capri

 

2007

On Broadway: The Evolution of Dance on the Broadway Stage

The Dawn of Modern Dance: Music, Myth and Movement

Two Dancers – photographs by Charles Bremer and poetry by Robert Bensen

Dance Education in America

Dance Across New York

Art in the Foyer:

Paintings by Frank Ohman

Some Dancers I Know – photographs by Steve Clark

Just Black and White – photographs by Clifford Oliver

The Art of Movement – photographs by Rebecca Singer

The Splendor of Dance in Photographic Form – photographs by Catherine Moda

The Moving Figure: A Photography Workshop – by Lawrence White

2008

Jerome Robbins Celebration

On Broadway: The Evolution of Dance on the Broadway Stage

Two Dancers – photographs by Charles Bremer and poetry by Robert Bensen

Dance Education in America

Art in the Foyer:

Steele: The Physique of a Dancer and Smoke in Mirrors – photographs by Mark Andrew

 

2009

Ballets Russes

Red Shoes – photographs by Kenn Duncan

Washington Bathhouse – permanent exhibition

Mark Morris Dance Group

On Broadway: The Evolution of Dance on the Broadway Stage

A Tribute to Tommy Tune

Art in the Foyer:

Ballet, Broadway, and Beyond – photographs by Paul Kolnik

 

2010

In a Labyrinth: The Dance of Butoh – photographs by Michael Philip Mannheim

Postage Paid: Dance Around the World

Dancing with the Stars

Alfred Z. Solomon Children’s Wing – permanent exhibition

Ballets Russes

MJ: A Michael Jackson Tribute

Art in the Foyer:

Celestial Bodies/Infernal Souls – photographs by Lois Greenfield

 

2011

National Museum of Dance 25th Anniversary Celebration

American Ballet Theatre: Then and Now

Eleo Pomare: The Man, The Artist, The Maker of Artists

Postage Paid: Dance Around the World

Dancing with the Stars

Balanchine: a tempo – Paul Kolnik digital exhibition

MJ: A Michael Jackson Tribute

Art in the Foyer:

Masters of Movement and From the Wings – photographs by Rose Eichenbaum

 

2012

En Pointe!

Tails and Terpsichore

American Ballet Theatre: Then and Now

Eleo Pomare: The Man, The Artist, The Maker of Artists

A Tribute to Ben Vereen

Art in the Foyer:

Christopher Duggan at Inside/Out: In Celebration of Jacob’s Pillow 80th Season

 

2013

Homage to Dance – sculpture and drawings by Andrew DeVries

A Riotous Work: A Centennial Celebration of The Rite of Spring

Tails and Terpsichore

En Pointe!

Art in the Foyer:

Dancers Among Us – photographs by Jordan Matter

 

2014

Dancers in Film – permanent exhibition

Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts

Tiaras and Tutus

Tradition in Movement: Dance Culture of Guatemala

Saratoga Favorites – dance reviews by Mae Banner and illustrations by Shawn Banner

A Tribute to Jacques d’Amboise

A Tribute to Gene Kelly

Art in the Foyer:

Dance Magic: The Photography of Richard Calmes

 

2015

Making Art Dance – Karole Armitage

Saratoga Favorites – dance reviews by Mae Banner and illustrations by Shawn Banner

125 Years of Tango: A Walk through the History of the Dance
The most recent in a series of exhibitions that have celebrated cultural dance forms, 125 Years of Tango: A Walk through the History of the Dance was the first exhibition of its kind to chronicle the evolution of Argentine tango from the nineteenth century to the present day. Drawn from the private collection of the show’s curator, Antón Gazenbeek, it featured rare costumes, music, artifacts, and film footage, much of which was displayed publicly for the first time. Gazenbeek, internationally renowned tango dancer and historian, is understood to hold the largest tango archive in the world. 125 Years of Tango explored the rich history of the dance form by decade and through themes such as music, dance styles, fashion, and the unique contributions of women. Gazenbeek and his husband, Jody Gazenbeek‑Person, performed at the exhibition opening, demonstrating a range of tango styles from primitive to modern.

A Tribute to Mark Morris
The Museum mounted a major retrospective on the career of Mark Morris that highlighted his extraordinary contributions to the art form as a dancer, choreographer, director, conductor, musician, and community leader. Mark Morris Dance Group, artistic collaborations, seminal works, and the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn were explored through a large collection of artifacts, costumes, and photographs loaned from the Dance Group.

A Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev

Art in the Foyer:

The Cris Alexander and Shaun O’Brien Collection

 

National Museum of Dance

2016

The Dancing Athlete
The Dancing Athlete examined the inherent connections between dance and sports, dancers and athletes, and artistry and athleticism, and this discrete dialogue that has been in place for centuries in the United States, Europe, and Russia. Themes such as sports-inspired choreography, shared movement vocabularies, and cross-training were explored across various dance forms and within ten sports that included skiing, basketball, hockey, soccer, skating, football, boxing, equestrian, baseball, and tennis. Special sections dedicated to the Olympics and individuals who embody the roles of both dancer and athlete were also featured, including Edward Villella, Sugar Ray Robinson, Lynn Swann, and Misty Copeland. Costumes and uniforms, photographs, video, artifacts, and archival materials illustrated this deep nexus. The Dancing Athlete sparked a unique and robust programming schedule at the Museum that included sports-inspired dance classes and commissioned dance works for both the exhibition opening and the 2016 gala, The Dancing Athlete.

50 Years at SPAC

Saratoga Favorites – dance reviews by Mae Banner and illustrations by Shawn Banner

Gen – Alice Manzi – outdoor exhibition

A Tribute to Patricia Wilde

A Tribute to Gregory Hines

Art in the Foyer:

Moment to Moment: A History of Time and Place – photographs by Paul Kolnik

2017

The Dancing Athlete

National Museum of Dance: Celebrating 30 Years

The rich history of the Museum over the past three decades was explored through its dynamic roster of exhibitions, its vast and diverse collection, and the development of the Lewis A. Swyer Studios and School of the Arts. Significant objects on display from the collection, many for the first time, helped to articulate the distinct story of this unique cultural institution.

A Tribute to our Founders: Marylou Whitney and Lewis A. Swyer

Gen – Alice Manzi – outdoor exhibition

Art in the Foyer:

Design for Dance: The Malcolm McCormick Collection