I’ve always considered photographs to be among the most exciting materials to work with in a collection. As someone who is a visual learner, looking at the many photographs in the Glen Tetley Archives was a great way for me to learn the various ballets, costumes, and some performers. Many of the photographs were never credited or labeled on the verso, so I often found it to be similar to a matching game of trying to place photographs from each ballet together judging by set pieces, costumes, and Tetley’s age (if he was pictured in the photo). The photographic materials in this collection were often in danger of damage due to their original housing and haphazard placement within the boxes. After speaking with Christine about the needs and wishes of the Glen Tetley Legacy, I decided to organize the photographs alphabetically by ballets, then by companies. Other photographs of persons, Glen Tetley’s personal life, and events were organized in a separate box. Black and white photographs were filed in archival file folders. Color photographs were separated and placed in the white archival file folders. Photographs that were too large to fit in the banker boxes were placed in a larger box. Many post-it-notes were removed from the photographs, possibly from when they were used in the documentary film.
Among the most exciting, and valuable, items in the collection were very important costume and set design sketches. Some contain fabric swatches attached to the page which truly made the costumes come to life in my hands. Oversize costume and set designs too large for this size box were placed in one of the extra large flat storage boxes. Some of the most noteworthy sketches were signed by Rouben Ter-Arutunian who was a costume and scenic designer for dance, opera, theater and television. He worked on over 24 Broadway productions and designed the sets for George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker for New York City Ballet in 1964.
Something that I would consider to be of great informational value for researchers studying Glen Tetley’s choreographic process would be his journals, notebooks, and datebooks. There were enough to fill a box full and varied in age and size. Any inserted materials of correspondence, photographs, and/or notes were left “as-is” within the pages. To know that Glen Tetley jotted down his ideas for ballets within these pages and traveled with these journals all over the world is a thrilling thought.
In the final hours of my practicum assignment, I spent time at the storage facility to do the finale arrangement and box numbering. Having to bring the materials back and forth from the Upper East Side storage facility all the way downtown to the Dance Notation Bureau’s offices was one of the most time-consuming and slightly frustrating parts of the work. But I can’t complain because DNB was absolutely wonderful to allow me a space to work and Christine was always by my side to haul boxes around.
At completion, there was a total of 35 boxes in the storage unit, all neatly stacked and organized to the best of my abilities in the allotted time. I was able to use many of the skills and knowledge I’d obtained at the Museum of Performance + Design and apply it to processing the Glen Tetley archival materials. I feel very proud of what I was able to accomplish and must thank the incredible staff at Dance Heritage Coalition, the Museum of Performance + Design, and the Glen Tetley Legacy for giving me these unbelievable learning experiences this summer. I also must thank my dear mother for introducing me to this beautiful art form at such a young age and supporting me every step of the way towards becoming a dance archivist.
This Fellowship has reaffirmed that my calling in life is to archive dance, in any way, shape, or form that it may need!