Martha Swope photographs of Jerome Robbins rehearsing with ballet dancers for "Antique Epigraphs," 1984
Guide to the Martha Swope photographs of Jerome Robbins rehearsing with ballet dancers for "Antique Epigraphs" C0464
Published by George Mason University Libraries
Jerome Robbins was one of the foremost dancers and choreographers of the 20th century. Born to Russian-Jewish immigrants in New York City in 1918, Robbins rose to prominence in the 1940s with his choreography for a number of Broadway shows. In 1949 Robbins became the Associate Artistic Director of the New York City Ballet under George Balanchine, cementing his place in the international ballet scene. Robbins gained worldwide fame with his Tony Award-winning choreography for the musicals West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof, after which he pivoted to ballet for the rest of his career. Robbins passed away in 1998.
Martha Swope was one of the most prolific dance photographers of the 20th century. Born in Texas in 1928, she originally aimed to become a professional dancer and enrolled at the School of American Ballet. In 1957 she met Jerome Robbins and they bonded over their mutual interest in photography. This led Robbins to invite Swope to photograph rehearsals for "West Side Story," which cemented Swope's passion for dance photography. Swope photographed hundreds of theatrical productions over her career and was closely linked to many renowned people in the performing arts community, including Robbins and George Balanchine. Being a dancer herself, Swope's photography was known for truly capturing the dancers' movement and spirit. Swope passed away in 2017, leaving a large body of work behind her.
"Antique Epigraphs" is a short ballet with music by Claude Debussy and choreography by Jerome Robbins. It premiered at the New York City Ballet on February 2, 1984.
Two black and white photographs of Jerome Robbins rehearsing with ballet dancers for "Antique Epigraphs" at the New York City Ballet, taken by Martha Swope in early 1984. Both photographs feature Robbins directing the dancers and demonstrating his choreography. The first photograph features from left to right: Helene Alexopoulos, Jerri Kumery, Maria Calegari, and Robbins. The second photograph features from left to right: Florence Fitzgerald, Helene Alexopoulos, Jerri Kumery, Robbins, and Victoria Hall. The dancers are rehearsing in costume.
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There are no restrictions on personal use. Permission to publish material from the Martha Swope photographs of Jerome Robbins rehearsing with ballet dancers for "Antique Epigraphs" must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
The Special Collections Research Center also holds the Martha Swope photograph of Jerome Robbins in rehearsal with young ballet dancers for "Circus Polka," the Costas photograph of Jerome Robbins rehearsing "Circus Polka" with young ballet dancers, and the Friedman-Abeles photography firm photograph of prominent members of the original "West Side Story" production team. It also holds many other performing arts collections that touch on Robbins, the New York City Ballet, and dance photography.
Martha Swope photographs of Jerome Robbins rehearsing with ballet dancers for "Antique Epigraphs," C0464, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
Purchased by Steve Gerber from Schubertiade Music on January 26, 2010.
Processing completed by Amanda Brent in January 2021. EAD markup completed by Amanda Brent in January 2021. This item was formerly part of the Performing Arts Manuscript Materials collection, C0215.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Jerome Robbins." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica, inc., Accessed January 19, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jerome-Robbins.
Gold, Sylviane. "Martha Swope, 88, Who Etched Dance and Theater History in Photographs, Dies." The New York Times, January 12, 2017. Accessed January 19, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/arts/design/martha-swope-88-who-etched-dance-and-theater-history-in-photographs-dies.html.
Kisselgoff, Anna. "Jerome Robbins, 79, Is Dead; Giant of Ballet and Broadway." The New York Times, July 30, 1998. Accessed January 19, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/1998/07/30/theater/jerome-robbins-79-is-dead-giant-of-ballet-and-broadway.html.
New York City Ballet. "Antique Epigraphs." New York City Ballet, Accessed January 19, 2021. https://www.nycballet.com/discover/ballet-repertory/antique-epigraphs/.
Reside, Douglas. "Martha Swope: capturing the process." The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Google Arts & Culture, Accessed January 19, 2021. https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/martha-swope-capturing-the-process-new-york-public-library-for-the-performing-arts/IQKiySffceSmJA?hl=en.