The Oral History Master of Arts Program is pleased to announce the spring portion of its 2018-2019 workshop series: Oral History and the Future: Archives and Embodied Memory
Oral history is a conversation about the past that takes place in the present and is oriented towards the future. How is this future orientation made real?
Oral history as a research practice, particularly in the United States, has been defined by a focus on recording and archiving in institutional repositories. But people can be archives too, and oral history-telling practices more broadly often depend on embodied memory, on person-to-person transmission. And because people have been formally recording and archiving oral histories for over seventy years, we are now living in the futures imagined by earlier generations of oral historians.
A centerpiece of our exhibition, Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Trailblazer, is a dazzling, eight foot long puzzle.
Handcrafted and painted from wood, the puzzle details the DTH’s history, Mitchell’s influence, luminaries who’ve supported the company, landmark performances and homages to ballet casts.
As puzzle maker Frank Bara notes in a video tour of the puzzle, shot a number of years ago, the puzzle celebrates the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s 20th anniversary. He completed it in 1989.
Visitors to RBML discuss the Dance Theatre of Harlem finds in this puzzle.
Close up with Frank Bara’s Dance Theatre of Harlem puzzle.
In this short video clip, Bara also explains the many “easter eggs” contained in the puzzle, if you’re lucky enough to get up close and personal with it.
There’s still time to see the puzzle in the Wallach Gallery at the Lenfest Arts Center. The exhibition runs through March 11th. After that the puzzle goes back into careful storage at the RBML. Don’t miss your chance to see this artistry up close.
These are the last few days to see the Arthur Mitchell exhibition — closes March 11th!
A detail of Michael D. Harris’s “Aspirations + Inspiration” (1985), from the exhibition “Arthur Miller: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer.” Credit: Arthur Mitchell Collection, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
The highly anticipated exhibition, Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer, launches January 12, 2018 with a reception at The Wallach Art Gallery at the Lenfest Center for the Arts.
“I am a political activist through dance.”
Curated by Lynn Garafola, Professor Emerita of Dance, Barnard College, the exhibition celebrates the life and accomplishments Arthur Mitchell, the New York City Ballet’s first African American star, and the founder and longtime director of the Dance Theater of Harlem. Continue reading