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Guide to the Eugene Loring Papers
MS-P002  
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Collection Details
 
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Eugene Loring papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1925-1986
    Date (bulk): (bulk 1933-1979)
    Collection number: MS-P002
    Creator: Loring, Eugene, 1914-
    Extent: 14.6 linear feet (26 boxes)
    Repository: University of California, Irvine. Library. Dept. of Special Collections.
    Irvine, California 92623-9557
    Abstract: The Eugene Loring Papers are comprised mainly of production photographs, scrapbooks, programs, and ephemera from the various stages of Loring's career, which culminated in a position as the founding chairman of the University of California, Irvine Dance Department (1965-1978). The collection contains rich documentation of Loring's early career, particularly in scrapbooks documenting the road tours of the dance companies Ballet Caravan and Ballet Theatre, and also broadly documents his directorship of Dance Players. Materials in this collection provide information on two important threads in Loring's diverse career in dance: his choreographic abilities as a leading developer of an American style of dance and his pedagogical skills (the latter first surfaced through his association with the American School of Dance). Additionally, the collection includes numerous performance and portrait photographs of dancers and dance companies collected by Loring and others.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access

    Collection is open for research. Scrapbooks are extremely fragile and require close supervision by Special Collections staff during use.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Eugene Loring Papers. MS-P02. Special Collections and Archives, The UCI Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Eugene Loring, 1975 and 1980.

    Processing History

    Preliminary processing by Roger Berry in 1975 and 1980. Processing completed by Emma Kheradyar in 1996-1997. Guide edited by Laura Clark Brown in 1998 and completed by William Landis in 2000.

    Biography/Organization History

    Biography

    Born on August 2, 1914 as Le Roy Kerpestein in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Eugene Loring studied gymnastics, music, acting and performing as a young man with the Wisconsin Players. He also studied dance to improve his movement qualities as an actor. He decided in his early twenties to pursue dance full time.
    Loring was admitted in 1934 to the American School of Ballet, founded by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. They chose a group of students, including Loring, to perform as the American Ballet Company. This company also performed divertissement ballets choreographed by Balanchine for the Metropolitan Opera. During this time Loring also danced in the corps de ballet and as a soloist with the Fokine Ballet.
    When the American Ballet and Metropolitan Opera seasons ended each year, a group of dancers including Loring joined Lincoln Kirstein's independent company Ballet Caravan. Instead of following classical ballet traditions, dancers choreographed pieces about life in America. The group shared equally in all decision making. Ballet Caravan spent spring and summer caravaning to small towns across America to perform in small venues. At summer's end they returned to New York for the American Ballet and Metropolitan Opera seasons.
    Eugene Loring's first original ballet was Harlequin for President. While a dancer/choreographer with Ballet Caravan, he choreographed Billy the Kid at the suggestion of Lincoln Kirstein, collaborating with Aaron Copland, who composed the musical score. Billy the Kid became Loring's most famous piece and is in the permanent repertoire of American Ballet Theatre. The Australian Ballet and the Oakland Ballet also have performed Billy as part of their repertoire.
    Loring choreographed The Great American Goof, a ballet-play with spoken words (libretto by William Saroyan), for Ballet Theatre in 1940. The work was a compilation of dance, music, speech, and sliding stage screens. In the same year, Loring appeared on Broadway as an actor in Saroyan's The Beautiful People.
    Loring created his own dance company named Dance Players in 1941, which continued in the same vein as Ballet Caravan. He choreographed Man From Midian and Prairie and the company performed Billy the Kid, along with many of his earlier works such as Yankee Clipper and Harlequin for President. The company disbanded in 1942, but Loring reused the name later for other student dance companies.
    In 1943 Loring was contracted by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to work as a dance director and actor in films. It was a productive period for Loring as he choreographed dance sequences for the films Ziegfeld Follies, Funny Face, and Silk Stockings, as well as several Broadway shows, including Carmen Jones, Kismet, Park Avenue, and Silk Stockings. Loring also choreographed extensively for the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera.
    Loring founded the American School of Dance (not affiliated with American School of Ballet) in Hollywood in 1947. The school remained in existence for over 25 years from the time Loring first arrived in California until a few years before his death. His goal for the school was to give students training in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, composition and notation. Loring developed his own dance technique at this time which was known as the "Free-Style Technique," combining ballet and jazz. Its purpose was to allow students to make easily the technique changes that were required of them professionally. The school had a sizable faculty roster and actively advertised guest teachers and lecturers. In the 1950s the school was home to the 15-member, semi-professional dance troupe Dance Players, led by Loring. The company gave over 300 performances to high schools, colleges and civic groups.
    Loring was invited to the White House in 1962 to present Billy the Kid. He was awarded Dance Magazine's Annual Award in 1968. One year later, he was the founding director of the Los Angeles Dance Players. At the same time, he developed his lecture series "Dance As a Language." Loring's goal was to educate the audience about dance in a way that paired narrative with dance. During the same year, he received a creative writing grant from the University of California to write Kineseography, about his form of dance notation. Loring worked with the Oakland Ballet in 1976 to stage Billy the Kid, and in 1978 he re-staged a ballet titled The Sisters, which had originally premiered with the San Diego Ballet in 1966.
    Loring's careers as a choreographer and teacher intertwined for three decades before he became the founding chairman of University of California, Irvine's Dance Department in 1965. He developed an instructional program for the department with a focus similar to his American School of Dance. Examinations for technique classes were adjudicated like professional auditions, and students had different teachers for technique each day. The department's goal was to prepare students for professional jobs immediately after graduation. Loring used his position as an opportunity to mount new works that were not financially possible using a professional dance company.
    Eugene Loring died in Kingston, New York on August 30, 1982.

    Chronology

    Refer to the Choreology for dates of Loring's choreographic activities and works.
    1914 Born Le Roy Kerpestein in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 2nd.
    1934 Professional stage debut with Michel Fokine.
    1934 Danced in Corps de Ballet and as a soloist with one year of concentrated ballet training.
    1934 Performed in Sorcerer's Apprentice and Prince Igor.
    1935-1938 Dancer in Corps de Ballet, then soloist for Balanchine and Kirstein's American Ballet.
    1935 Danced in his first professional productions as Photographer in Alma Mater and as Brighella in Reminiscence.
    1936 Joined Lincoln Kirstein's Ballet Caravan as a soloist and choreographer (through 1939).
    1936 Danced Harlequin in his own Harlequin for President and Satyr in Promenade (choreographed by William Dollar) for Ballet Caravan (Bennington, Vermont).
    1937 Danced Farm Boy in his own Yankee Clipper and Saltarello in Folk Dance (Saybrook, Connecticut).
    1938 Danced Ray, a Truck Driver in Filling Station (choreographed by Lew Christensen) for Ballet Caravan (Hartford, Connecticut).
    1938 Danced title role in his own Billy the Kid for Ballet Caravan (Chicago).
    1940 Danced title roles in his own The Great American Goof and in Peter and the Wolf.
    1940 Danced Devil in Three Virgins and a Devil for Ballet Theatre (New York).
    1940 Cast in Saroyan's The Beautiful People on Broadway.
    1941 Founder, choreographer, and principal dancer for Dance Players.
    ca. 1942 Dance Players disbanded.
    1943 Signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and contracted to work as a dance director and actor.
    1945 Appeared in the film National Velvet.
    1948 Founder and teacher for the American School of Dance.
    1953 Appeared in the film Torch Song.
    1962 Directed Under the Sycamore Tree at the Pasadena Playhouse.
    1965 Became first chairman of the Dance Department at the University of California, Irvine.
    1965 Staged ballets for San Diego Ballet.
    1967 Recipient of Dance Magazine award.
    1980 Left UCI.
    1982 Died in Kingston, New York on August 30th.

    Choreology

    Includes major works choreographed by Loring and is not exhaustive.
    1934 First choreography credit for production of Credentials.
    1936 Harlequin for President (music by Scarlatti) for Ballet Caravan (Bennington, Vermont).
    1937 Yankee Clipper (music by Bowles) for Ballet Caravan (Saybrook, Connecticut).
    1937 Billy the Kid (music by Copland) for Ballet Caravan (Chicago).
    1939 City Portrait (music by Brant) for Ballet Caravan (New York).
    1940 The Great American Goof (music by Brant) for inaugural performance of Ballet Theatre, New York.
    1942 The Man From Midian (music by Wolpe), Prairie (music by Dello Joio), and The Duke of Sacramento (music by Dello Joio) for Dance Players.
    1943 Choreographed shows on Broadway.
    1953 Capital of the World (music by Antheil) and Omnibus for American television (also staged for American Ballet Theatre, New York).
    1954 The Legend of the Handsome Stranger (music by Johnson) for Santa Monica Ballet (California).
    1956 Worked as a choreographer in collaboration with Fred Astaire in Funny Face.
    1958 Choreographed for the Ice Capades.
    1961 A Portrait of a Woman and Quotations for Idyllwild Arts Foundation (California).
    1966 T he Sisters (music by Ruggles) for San Diego Ballet and Jacob's Pillow Festival (Lee, Massachusetts).
    1966 These Three (music by Steinman) for Joffrey Ballet at the City Center (New York).
    1968 Prisms, Pinions, Paradox for University of California, Irvine (UCI).
    1969 Catulli Carmina (music by Orff) for UCI.
    1970 Polyphonica (music by Mendelsohn) for UCI.
    1971 Folk Dances of a Mythical Country (music by Allard, Loring, Beaver, Krause) for UCI.
    1973 Who Am I ? Where Do I Come From ? What Am I Doing Here? (music by Copland and Badings) for UCI.
    1976 The Voice (music by Crumb) for UCI.
    1978 Celebration for UCI.
    1978 The Tender Land (music by Copland) for Oakland Ballet (California).
    1979 American Gothic (music by Copland) for UCI.
    1980 Time Unto Time (music by Bartok) for Oakland Ballet (California).

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    The Eugene Loring Papers are comprised mainly of production photographs, scrapbooks, programs, and ephemera from the various stages of Loring's career, which culminated in a position as the founding chairman of the University of California, Irvine Dance Department (1965-1978). The collection contains rich documentation of Loring's early career, particularly in scrapbooks documenting the road tours of the dance companies Ballet Caravan and Ballet Theatre, and also broadly documents his directorship of Dance Players. Materials in this collection provide information on two important threads in Loring's diverse career in dance: his choreographic abilities as a leading developer of an American style of dance and his pedagogical skills (the latter first surfaced through his association with the American School of Dance). Especially well documented are numerous productions of Loring's signature piece, Billy the Kid. Additionally, the collection includes numerous performance and portrait photographs of dancers and dance companies collected by Loring and others.
    The collection is organized in the following nine series:
    • Series 1. Early years, 1925-1933. 0.1 linear ft.
    • Series 2. Early ballet companies, 1934-1939. 0.5 linear ft.
    • Series 3. Choreography, 1933-1980. 4 linear ft.
    • Series 4. Dance company directorships, 1941-1973. 3.3 linear ft.
    • Series 5. American School of Dance, 1947-1971. 1.9 linear ft.
    • Series 6. University of California, Irvine, 1965-1986. 0.6 linear ft.
    • Series 7. Biographical files, ca. 1930-1979. 0.5 linear ft.
    • Series 8. Clugston and Maudlin dance scrapbooks, 1936-1947. 3 linear ft.
    • Series 9. Topical files, 1932-1977. 0.7 linear ft.

    Removed or Separated Material

    Related Collections

    A collection of Loring's papers is located at the New York Public Library.

    Separated Materials

    Approximately 2 linear feet of dance programs unrelated to Loring's choreography or career as a performer, teacher, and dance company director have been removed to the Dance Programs Collection (MS-P26) in Special Collections and Archives.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Loring, Eugene, 1914- --Archives.
    University of California, Irvine--Faculty--Archival resources.
    American School of Dance (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Archival resources.
    University of California, Irvine. Dept. of Dance--Archival resources.
    American Ballet (Dance company)--Archival resources.
    Ballet Caravan (Dance company)--Archival resources.
    American Ballet Caravan (Dance company)--Archival resources.
    Ballet Theatre (New York, N.Y.)--Archival resources.
    Dance Players (Dance company)--Archival resources.
    Los Angeles Dance Theatre (Dance company)--Archival resources.
    Billy the Kid (Choreographic work : Loring)--Archival resources.
    Dance--Archival resources.
    Ballet--United States--Archival resources.
    Modern dance--United States--Archival resources.
    Choreography--United States--Archival resources.
    Dance in motion pictures, television, etc.--United States--Archival resources.
    Dance schools--California--Archival resources.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Photographic prints.
    Scrapbooks.
    Dance programs.
    Costume design drawings.
    Scores.
    Oral histories.

    Occupations

    Choreographers.
    Dance teachers.
    Dancers.

    Other Index Terms Related to this Collection

    Clugston, H. N., former owner.
    Maudlin, Mildred Ann, former owner.