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Gladys Bailin interview : Oral history interview, Dec. 2, 1996

Author: Gladys Bailin; Barbara Hayley
Publisher: ©1996.
Edition/Format:   DVD video : NTSC color broadcast system : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
[Begin Video 1, recording begins mid-discussion, interview starts 1:35 min.] Gladys Bailin discusses her family and childhood in New York's lower east side, the role of Henry St. Settlement as a community center, her additional dance lessons with Nona Sherman at The New Dance Group school, her years at Hunter College, taking ballet class with Phyllis Lamhut at Henry St. Settlement, the arrival of Alwin Nikolais at  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Video
Dance
Interview
Named Person: Gladys Bailin; Alwin Nikolais; Phyllis Lamhut; Bill Frank, dancer.; Hanya Holm; Mary Wigman; Don Redlich
Material Type: Videorecording
Document Type: Visual material
All Authors / Contributors: Gladys Bailin; Barbara Hayley
OCLC Number: 641275186
Notes: Oral history of six Alwin Nikolais Dancers, Henry St. Playhouse Dance Company, 1948 to 1960s: Gladys Bailin, Phyllis Lamhut, Murray Louis, Coral Martindale, Beverly Schmidt (Blossom), Dorothy Vislocky.
Credits: Videography by Dennis Diamond and Michael P. Hesse (Video D Studios) ; video dubbing, titling and credits by Sheldon Jones and Derek Toten.
Research assistance: Susan Kraft, Monica Moseley, Madeleine Nichols, Charles Perrier, Pat Rader of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, and Murray Louis and Frank Garcia, the Nikolais Louis Archives.
Performer(s): Interviewee, Gladys Bailin ; interviewer, Barbara Hayley.
Event notes: Videotaped during interview at the Video D Studios, New York, N.Y. on Dec. 2, 1996.
Description: 1 videodisc (NTSC) (115 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.
Details: DVD.
Responsibility: produced and interviewed by Barbara Hayley.

Abstract:

[Begin Video 1, recording begins mid-discussion, interview starts 1:35 min.] Gladys Bailin discusses her family and childhood in New York's lower east side, the role of Henry St. Settlement as a community center, her additional dance lessons with Nona Sherman at The New Dance Group school, her years at Hunter College, taking ballet class with Phyllis Lamhut at Henry St. Settlement, the arrival of Alwin Nikolais at Henry St. in 1948 and his re-structuring of the school to reflect the Wigman-Holm dance tradition. Bailin discusses the impact of attending a summer session at Colorado College with Nikolais, describes the focus of Holm's classes and contrasts them with Nikolais' classes, how some students (mostly men) followed Nikolais to New York after the summer, and Nikolais' generosity and encouragement of students to find their own voices in his improvisation classes. She describes a typical technique class, including the influence of Joe Pilates and his mat/floor exercises, and how the principles in technique class were furthered in subsequent improvisation classes. She briefly discusses dancing in Extrados (1949) and the monthly showings of student works beginning in 1953. [Pause at 27:08, 27:40 begin Video 2] Bailin continues to discuss her works in the 1953 student choreography concert, how Nikolais organized these concerts through composition classes, her choreographic works Persistent memory, Harlequinade, the solo Little man choreographed on Murray Louis, and the duet Antigone with Phyllis Bailin, and Village of whispers (1955) based on composition class studies and Nikolais' assembly of her choreographic works including: Castle, Pursuit and Creach. She describes her dances Pursuit and Gemini, how costumes and props shaped and placed limitations on the movements in Kaleidoscope (1953), how experimenting with the theater and lights helped shift Nikolais' creative approach away from the Extrados dance style and towards abstraction, what dancing "full out" meant in Nikolais' work and rehearsals, and a specific moment with a pole prop that she performed in the dance Kaleidoscope. They discuss her first solo concert at the Playhouse in 1957, including listing the works on the program and in a review. She recalls her first year in Ohio and wanting to expose the students to more New York dances, and the process of developing a creative environment for students. [Pauses at 53:02, 53:22 begin Video 3] Bailin discusses dancing and partnering with Bill Frank, her marriage with artist Murray Stern, the Nikolais dance Bewitched and its music composed by Harry Partch, the last piece Imago that she performed as a company member in 1963, and dancing in Murray Louis' work and in Don Redlich's work at that time. She speaks about the reasons and factors for leaving the company in 1963, including the birth of her son Peter, meeting Jean Erdman in 1966 and assisting in the early development of, and teaching at the school that became Tisch at NYU, working with Redlich beginning in 1967 and performing duets with him, and Redlich's dance Air antique. They discuss Bailin's dance influences in addition to Hanya Holm such as José Limón, Nanette Charisse's ballet class, Merle Marsicano's modern class, her brief exploration of jazz classes including Matt Maddox, Peter Gennaro, and Luigi, dancing in the Louis dances Facets and Odyssey, and dancing with Phyllis Lamhut and the symbiosis between company members. They discuss the evolving relationship between academia and dance, how dance training methods have shifted over time, especially in academia partially due to a more diverse faculty, and some of the differences she sees in dance today. [Pauses at 1:24:29, 1:27:55 begin Video 4] Bailin discusses the circumstances in the late 1960's through early 1970's that prompted her family's move from New York to Ohio in 1972, her initial experience in Ohio and meeting Shirley Wimmer. She discusses their decision as a family to move, her contribution to developing the curriculum of the Ohio University School of Dance, the positive impacts of the move on their way of living, her own choreographic approach and her decision to focus on the nuances of movement rather then using props, and her last dance performance in 1978 and the effects of aging on her dancing abilities. After her husbands death she learned to play the piano and found the connections between learning how to play music and teaching her students how to dance beyond their technical abilities, along with how to shape movement phrases, and the reason for her musical choices in her choreography. She discusses some of the Spanish dance influences in her work Danza, her tendency to move from subject matter quickly, her current decision to work with older dancers, her signature work, and concludes with summarizing her career as a dance professional, including her own good fortunes [1:52:28 End].

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Linked Data


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schema:description"[Begin Video 1, recording begins mid-discussion, interview starts 1:35 min.] Gladys Bailin discusses her family and childhood in New York's lower east side, the role of Henry St. Settlement as a community center, her additional dance lessons with Nona Sherman at The New Dance Group school, her years at Hunter College, taking ballet class with Phyllis Lamhut at Henry St. Settlement, the arrival of Alwin Nikolais at Henry St. in 1948 and his re-structuring of the school to reflect the Wigman-Holm dance tradition. Bailin discusses the impact of attending a summer session at Colorado College with Nikolais, describes the focus of Holm's classes and contrasts them with Nikolais' classes, how some students (mostly men) followed Nikolais to New York after the summer, and Nikolais' generosity and encouragement of students to find their own voices in his improvisation classes. She describes a typical technique class, including the influence of Joe Pilates and his mat/floor exercises, and how the principles in technique class were furthered in subsequent improvisation classes. She briefly discusses dancing in Extrados (1949) and the monthly showings of student works beginning in 1953. [Pause at 27:08, 27:40 begin Video 2] Bailin continues to discuss her works in the 1953 student choreography concert, how Nikolais organized these concerts through composition classes, her choreographic works Persistent memory, Harlequinade, the solo Little man choreographed on Murray Louis, and the duet Antigone with Phyllis Bailin, and Village of whispers (1955) based on composition class studies and Nikolais' assembly of her choreographic works including: Castle, Pursuit and Creach. She describes her dances Pursuit and Gemini, how costumes and props shaped and placed limitations on the movements in Kaleidoscope (1953), how experimenting with the theater and lights helped shift Nikolais' creative approach away from the Extrados dance style and towards abstraction, what dancing "full out" meant in Nikolais' work and rehearsals, and a specific moment with a pole prop that she performed in the dance Kaleidoscope. They discuss her first solo concert at the Playhouse in 1957, including listing the works on the program and in a review. She recalls her first year in Ohio and wanting to expose the students to more New York dances, and the process of developing a creative environment for students. [Pauses at 53:02, 53:22 begin Video 3] Bailin discusses dancing and partnering with Bill Frank, her marriage with artist Murray Stern, the Nikolais dance Bewitched and its music composed by Harry Partch, the last piece Imago that she performed as a company member in 1963, and dancing in Murray Louis' work and in Don Redlich's work at that time. She speaks about the reasons and factors for leaving the company in 1963, including the birth of her son Peter, meeting Jean Erdman in 1966 and assisting in the early development of, and teaching at the school that became Tisch at NYU, working with Redlich beginning in 1967 and performing duets with him, and Redlich's dance Air antique. They discuss Bailin's dance influences in addition to Hanya Holm such as José Limón, Nanette Charisse's ballet class, Merle Marsicano's modern class, her brief exploration of jazz classes including Matt Maddox, Peter Gennaro, and Luigi, dancing in the Louis dances Facets and Odyssey, and dancing with Phyllis Lamhut and the symbiosis between company members. They discuss the evolving relationship between academia and dance, how dance training methods have shifted over time, especially in academia partially due to a more diverse faculty, and some of the differences she sees in dance today. [Pauses at 1:24:29, 1:27:55 begin Video 4] Bailin discusses the circumstances in the late 1960's through early 1970's that prompted her family's move from New York to Ohio in 1972, her initial experience in Ohio and meeting Shirley Wimmer. She discusses their decision as a family to move, her contribution to developing the curriculum of the Ohio University School of Dance, the positive impacts of the move on their way of living, her own choreographic approach and her decision to focus on the nuances of movement rather then using props, and her last dance performance in 1978 and the effects of aging on her dancing abilities. After her husbands death she learned to play the piano and found the connections between learning how to play music and teaching her students how to dance beyond their technical abilities, along with how to shape movement phrases, and the reason for her musical choices in her choreography. She discusses some of the Spanish dance influences in her work Danza, her tendency to move from subject matter quickly, her current decision to work with older dancers, her signature work, and concludes with summarizing her career as a dance professional, including her own good fortunes [1:52:28 End]."
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