Photograph of Twyla Tharp in Deuce Coupe, 1973, a ballet commissioned by the Joffrey Ballet. Photo: Herbert Migdoll

New York Public Library Acquires Joffrey Ballet Archive

The archive of Joffrey Ballet, a Chicago-based dance company founded by Robert Joffrey in New York in 1956, has joined the collection of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The gift, which spans the entirety of the company’s history, coincides with the company’s first performances in New York after twenty-two years.

“The Joffrey Ballet’s collection already feels at home at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, where many of Robert Joffrey’s papers and the footage of the company are already housed and enjoyed by researchers, dancers, students and the public,” Greg Cameron, the company’s executive director, said. Comprising 575 linear feet, the archive includes six boxes of 8mm and 16mm film as well as over sixty boxes of beta and VHS and will be processed over the next year at the Library Services Center in Long Island City.

Joffrey Ballet is known for being the first ballet company to perform at the White House, the first to appear on television, and the only company to appear on the cover of Time magazine. It was also the first to commission a Twyla Tharp ballet. The Company, a movie composed of stories from Joffrey Ballet dancers, choreographers, and staff and starring actual dancers as well as actors Malcolm McDowell and James Franco was released in 2003.