Cincinnati Ballet at 50-Preparing for a Celebration


Colleen Giesting in Salome

By Suzanne Maggard

The Archives and Rare Books Library has been working with Cincinnati Ballet to prepare for their 50th anniversary season which begins in 2013.  As part of the celebration, David Lyman, the dance writer for The Cincinnati Enquirer, is working on a book about the ballet.  Lyman was contracted to write the book by the Cincinnati firm, Allegori, who, in turn, has a contract for the book with Cincinnati Ballet.  Lyman has been doing research on the ballet using Cincinnati Ballet records and the David McLain and David Blackburn Collection held in the Archives and Rare Books Library.  Photos and slides from these records are currently being scanned for use in the book which will be released in 2013.  Although the images in this blog post are not necessarily ones chosen for the book, they are a sampling of the some of the images in the collections.

Both the ballet records and the David McLain and David Blackburn collection provide ample sources for researching the history of Cincinnati Ballet.  From photos and programs to newspaper clippings to publicity materials, the collections span the history of the ballet from early 1960s through 2009.  Lyman states that the records have been invaluable to his work, “The correspondence among board members and with former artistic directors has cleared up several longstanding mysteries for me. The newspaper clippings, too, saved me countless hours of having to scavenge through newspaper directories.”

Anne Frank

Anne Frank, 1989

Songs of Silence, 1969








The McLain/Blackburn collection also consists of a large amount of material related to the dance department at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music.  David McLain was Artistic Director of Cincinnati Ballet and head of the Dance Division at CCM starting in 1966.  David Blackburn was Assistant Director of the ballet, and also on the faculty of CCM.  A finding aid for the Cincinnati Ballet collection is available online.  An inventory of the McLain/Blackburn collection is available by contacting the Archives and Rare Books Library.  For more information on any of these collections, contact the Archives and Rare Books Library at 513.556.1959 or

Rowan Jasunder

"Scotch Symphony," by George Balanchine. The dancers are Donna Grisez and Roman Jasinski