By: Savannah Gulick, Archives & Rare Books Library Student Assistant
If you have lived around Cincinnati, most likely you’ve heard of Cincinnati Ballet, more specifically Cincinnati Ballet’s annual Nutcracker performance at Music Hall. Every holiday season, the ballet company performs this classic and it truly is a breathtaking. However, there is so much more to the company than just the Nutcracker! For example, when it was founded in 1958, Cincinnati Ballet became the first ever company to exist west of the Alleghenies. It is a fascinating history of this local cultural institution and our holdings of its archive includes a wealth of photos of their productions as well as costume designs and choreography. This most recent accession includes programs for Carmen, The Nutcracker, The Come Together festival, and Swan Lake; costume sketches, choreography, and pieces for Swan Lake and the Nutcracker. The Archives & Rare Books Library holds the ballet’s records extending from 1960 to 2017. and this recent acquisition, accession number US-19-03, consists of 8.75 linear feet and covers 1991 to 2017. Earlier acquisitions in 2010, 2012, and 2016 have the accession numbers of US-10-03 and US-12-07, and US-16-02 and overall the collection consists of 40.32 linear feet of documents, posters, photographs, and programs. The finding aids for the earlier accessions, with details on the contents, can be found online on the UC Libraries Finding Aid website. ARB’s Sue Reller has been the contact person for the ballet and she assisted local arts writer David Lyman in his 2013 commemorative history, Cincinnati Ballet Celebrates 50: 1963-2013, from which many of following facts have been taken. The volume is available in ARB’s reference collection and has the call number of GV1786.C5 C55 2013.
By: Sydney Vollmer, ARB Student Worker
I have never been to a ballet in my life. Why? Simply put: everyone in my family (excluding one aunt) has told me it’s boring and weird. Indeed, I have let the opinions of others shape my own experiences (or lack thereof). I was perfectly happy never thinking to attend a ballet…until I started working at the Archives and Rare Books Library.
As the student worker here, part of my role includes sorting, inventorying, and processing collections so they can be properly stored in the archives for future research. The project I am currently working on is sorting everything that was recently given to us by Cincinnati Ballet Company (CBC).
We hold the collections of CBC that were acquired before I was hired, so the material I’m working on is a recent addition to the archive. From what I hear, the last round was much more manageable. Below, you can see some pictures of the room where I am working. This is the collection AFTER a preliminary sorting. I’ve probably spent about 12 hours in there over the past few weeks and I’ve even had help and supervision. Even if it doesn’t look like it, this is progress!
The holidays in Cincinnati bring many traditions to mind. You can go see the Duke Energy train display at the Cincinnati Museum Center (formerly the CG&E train display and previously located downtown), and you surely do not want to miss the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo. One tradition in particular, though, is celebrating a big anniversary. 2014 marks the 40th year for Cincinnati Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. For many Cincinnatians, a trip to see The Nutcracker at Music Hall is their first experience with the ballet, and for others it might be their only experience.
By: Suzanne Maggard
Blackburn in Serenade with Alyce Taylor (standing), and Colleen Giesting
On June 15, 2013, David Blackburn passed away and the Cincinnati dance community lost a beloved teacher and friend. Blackburn served as a professor of dance at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music for over 30 years and played a vital role in the history of the Cincinnati Ballet as a dancer and then as Assistant Artistic Director.
By: Lauren Fink, ARB Student Assistant
The Archives and Rare Books Library has recently processed a collection from the Cincinnati Ballet spanning the years 1970-2008. This collection, full of photographs, contact sheets, sketches, and notes, makes an excellent addition to our already extensive Cincinnati Ballet Records.
The new collection mainly includes visual materials related to The Nutcracker. Professional photographs, advertising campaigns, and community outreach programs are all documented. Above is a billboard advertisement, “One Size Fits All: This Year Give The Nutcracker.” Below is “Nut Man” who was very active in the Cincinnati community circa 1988. Contact sheets and action prints, as seen below, comprise an entire box of the collection. Continue reading