Michio Ito collection CEMA 25

Finding aid prepared by Callie Bowdish, Janet Chen, and Suzanne Im, 2013.
UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Collections
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California, 93106-9010
Phone: (805) 893-3062
Email: special@library.ucsb.edu; URL: http://www.library.ucsb.edu/special-collections
2013 July

Title: Michio Ito collection
Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 25
Contributing Institution: UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Collections
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 9.0 linear feet (8 document boxes and 1 oversize box)
Date (inclusive): 1911-1980
Abstract: Michio Ito was a concert dancer and choreographer from Japan. This collection consists of numerous photos, magazines, articles, posters and books about his dances and choreography. The collection also consists of programs from his dance concerts, his own personal notes, and diagrams of his dances, as well as films and audio recordings used for film production. The bulk of the material is related to the writing of the book Michio Ito: The Dancer and His Dances by Helen Caldwell.
Physical Location: Del Norte
Language of Materials: The collection is in English.


Michio Ito (ca. 1892-1961) was a Japanese concert dancer and choreographer. He left Japan for Paris in 1911. After training in Paris, he went on to study dance in Egypt. In 1912, he enrolled at the Émile Jaques-Dalcroze school in Hellerau, Germany. Ito later moved to London, where under the sponsorship of Lady Ottoline Morrel, he began to perform solo works. He made his professional debut as a recital dancer in May 1915. After his debut, he gave a series of concerts in London which culminated in his choreography and performance of At the Hawk's Well by William Butler Yeats, at a private performance.
Ito emigrated to the United States in 1916 and lived in Los Angeles from 1929 - 1941. He spent most of his time in America choreographing for his own company. During his time in America, he spent most of it divided between New York and on the West Coast. During his New York period he staged several plays for innovative theater groups that included Bushido for the Washington Square Players (1916), Tamura (1918) and Nuages et Fêtes(1929) for the Neighborhood Playhouse, and Turandot (1929) for the Habima Players.
In Los Angeles Ito staged plays in Japanese for the Tokujiro Tautsui Company of Players and the Japanese Children's Theatre and he also had symphonic groups concerts at the Rose and Hollywood Bowls. He is frequently said to have staged many Oriental dance sequences in early sound-era films, although only two such credits can be verified, most notably, his work as a technical advisor on the 1933 verison of Madame Butterfly (Paramount). Ito also appeared in at least one addition Paramount film, BooLoo (1938), in which he portrayed an African tribal chieftan.
Ito was deported from the United States in 1941 and he returned to Tokyo where he established a school. He then went on to produce Prologs for Japanese movie-house chains and after 1946 he staged shows for the Fifth Air Force (Occupation Army). Ito was involved in television production before his death in 1961, but it cannot be determined whether he staged dances for variety shows or worked in a technical or production capacity. His school and company in Tokyo was managed by his former student, Ryuko Maki and remained functioning until 1976.
Over the last few years, Ito's work and choreographic theories have had a revival in the United States, which were primarily sponsored by Maki and her student, Satoru Shimazaki, a Japanese choreographer who worked in New York. Shimazaki has given recitals consisting of Ito's reconstructed works and included Ito's piece in concerts of his own company and repertory. Shimazaki also had demonstrations of Ito's choreographic vocabulary, which were a limited selection of movements that he manipulated into his characterizational and abstract works. His theories will probably become the subject of more discussion and will take their place with those of his contemporaries that are possibly dated, but very recognizable for their period and Dalcroze influence.
Reference: Cohen-Stratyner, Barbara Naomi. 1982. Biographical dictionary of dance. New York: Schirmer Books.

Access Restrictions

Service copies of audiovisual items may need to be made before viewing or listening. Please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Use Restrictions

Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Helen Caldwell, 1992.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of Item], Michio Ito collection, CEMA 25. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Scope and Content

The Michio Ito Collection contains Ito's personal notes and biographical research about Ito done by Helen Caldwell. The collection is divided into six series spanning 9 boxes. The bulk of the collection consists of articles, programs, and publications about Ito's career. Also included are Ito's personal notes, dance diagrams, films, and audio recordings. Altogether, the collection provides an insight into Ito's creative and professional life as a dancer and choreographer.

Processing Information

Processed by Callie Bowdish, Janet Chen, and Suzanne Im, 2013.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Itō, Michio, 1893-1961
Japanese--California--Los Angeles
Japanese--United States


Series I: Michio Ito book materials

Series Scope and Content

This series consists of pictures from Helen Caldwell's book about Michio Ito. There are also pictures taken by Toyo Miyatake.
Box 1, Folder 1-7

Book Pictures June 28, 1977

Box 3, Folder 25

Book Pictures

Box 1, Folder 13-15, Box 5, Folder 26-28

Toyo Miyatake


Series II Research

Series Scope and Content

This series contains Helen Caldwell's research on Michio Ito.
Box 1, Folder 8-12, Box 5, Folder 30-33

Helen Caldwell

Box 1, Folder 8-12

Helen Caldwell folders

Box 5, Folder 30-33

Helen Caldwell folders


Subject Files

Box 5, Folder 1-4

III-Chapter II - Melancholy + Epic Hero 127-157

Box 5, Folder 5


Box 5, Folder 6


Box 5, Folder 7

Chopin + Tango

Box 5, Folder 8


Box 5, Folder 9


Box 5, Folder 10


Box 5, Folder 11

Excercises + 10 Gestures

Box 5, Folder 12-13


Box 5, Folder 14

Ippolitow-Iwanow-Caucasian Sketches

Box 5, Folder 15

Ito Dances and Music

Box 5, Folder 16


Box 5, Folder 17

Masks-Japanese Mask Book

Box 5, Folder 18

Pavane (Henry VIII?)

Box 5, Folder 19

Ravel-Chinese Pavane

Box 5, Folder 20


Box 5, Folder 21


Box 5, Folder 22


Box 5, Folder 23


Box 5, Folder 24

Scott- Lotus Land

Box 5, Folder 25


Box 5, Folder 29


Box 9, Folder 1

Biography and career - "Memories"

Box 9, Folder 2

Costume pictures in cedar chest

Box 9, Folder 3

Group dances

Box 9, Folder 4


Box 9, Folder 5

ITC - Xerox articles - Yeats, Harlocke Ellis, Castles, Ruth St. Denis, Howarth, HSC

Box 9, Folder 6

Nixon, Roberta

Box 9, Folder 7

Noguchi, Ito

Box 9, Folder 8

Second edition

Box 9, Folder 9

Translations - Kyogen

Box 9, Folder 10



Series III: Articles and programs

Series Scope and Content

This series contains numerous articles, programs, and magazines about Michio Ito and his dance concerts.


Box 2, Folder 1


Box 2, Folder 2-8

1914-1916: England

Box 2, Folder 9-10

1927-1929: New York

Box 2, Folder 11

1929: LA

Box 2, Folder 12


Box 2, Folder 13-14


Box 2, Folder 15


Box 2, Folder 16


Box 2, Folder 17

1941, 1945-1948

Box 2, Folder 18


Box 2, Folder 19-22




Box 9, Folder 11

Dance Magazine

Box 4, Folder 2-4

PB Magazine

Box 3, Folder 1-4

PM Magazine

Box 3, Folder 16-18

Miscellaneous Programs and Articles

Box 4, Folder 1

PB Books

Box 3, Folder 5, 6, Box 4, Folder 5


Box 4, Folder 6-8

PR Programs

Box 3, Folder 7-15


Box 3, Folder 19-21

Xeroxes, Magazines X-M

Box 3, Folder 22-24

Xeroxes, Programs, and Annoucements


Series IV: Publications

Series Scope and Content

This series contains publications, such as books and magazines about Ito. Also included is the book written by Helen Caldwell in English and Japanese versions.


Box 6

Takeishi, Midori, and David Pacun. 2006. Japanese Elements in Michio Ito's Early Period (1915-1934): meetings of East and West in the collaborative works. Tokyo: Gendai Tosho.

Box 6

Caldwell, Helen. 1977. Michio Ito: the dancer and his dances. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Box 6

Caldwell, Helen. 1977. Michio Ito: the dancer and his dances. Berkeley: University of California Press. Translated by Einosuke Nakagawa into Japanese

Language of Material: Japanese
Box 7

Miscellaneous Publications about Dance and Costume


Lemoisne, P.A., and Tyra de Kleen. 1929. L'illustration: Noël 1929. Paris: [s.n.] December 1929


Dance Lovers Magazine March 1924


Dance Lovers Magazine July 1924


Dance Lovers Magazine November


The Dance Magazine March 1926


The Dance Magazine July 1926


The Dance Magazine October 1926


The Dance November 1926


Dance February 1946


L'Illustration December 1928


L'Illustration December 1929


Nritya Rekha


Series V: Movies

Series Scope and Content

This series contains reel to reel films, magnetic audio tapes used for film production, slides and stop-motion negatives.

Audio for movie production 1972-1980

Reel A23155/R7

Movie - Intro and Program I and II

Reel A23156/R7

Movie Program III and IV

Reel A23157/R7

Billy I

Reel A23158/R7

Billy II

Reel A23159/R7

Billy III and HC 1980 July 1

Reel A23160/R7

Caldwell II 1972 July 22

Reel A23161/R7

Caldwell III Slowed and Caresse on side II 1980 May 15

Reel A23162/R7

Steve I and Caresse retape

Reel A23163/R7

Steve II

Reel A23164/R7

Steve [Traverse?]



Film V2164

Hal Mohr Blue Print Of Choreography

Film V2166

Hal Mohr Blue Print of Choreography-Scriabing 5

Film V2167

Hal Mohr Blue Print of Choreography-Spanish Fan

Film V2168

[Man Hunt?]

Film V2169

Reel 1 -Unidentified

Film V2170

Reel 2 -Unidentified Sc no. 25 [Pavnane?]

Film V2171

Scr no [6?] (Several Film Titles)

Film V4903

Out take

Film V4904

Full part of chorography, Hal Mohr

Film V4905

Reel 1 no.1, New Neg.

Film V4906

Reel 2 From New Neg.

Film V4907

Reel 3, New Part

Film V4908

R-4, New Pt. Int


Ito slides

Box 1, Folder 16


Box 1, Folder 16




Box 9, Folder 12

HC Movie I-A performance

Box 9, Folder 13

Ito - Motion pictures

Box 9, Folder 14

Tape D commentary

Box 7

Stop motion - final version 1976 July 11

Box 7

35 mm negatives


Series VI: Musical scores

Series Scope and Content

This series includes musical scores with handwritten notes. Information regarding this music is also included in Series II: Research, Subject Files.
Box 8, Folder 1


Box 8, Folder 2

Amsco Music Publishing Co.

Box 8, Folder 3


Box 8, Folder 4


Box 8, Folder 5


Box 8, Folder 6

Chopin-Nocturne Waltz

Box 8, Folder 7


Box 8, Folder 8


Box 8, Folder 9


Box 8, Folder 10


Box 8, Folder 11

Henry VIII

Box 8, Folder 12


Box 8, Folder 13


Box 8, Folder 14


Box 8, Folder 15


Box 8, Folder 16


Box 8, Folder 17


Box 8, Folder 18


Box 8, Folder 19


Box 8, Folder 20


Box 8, Folder 21


Box 8, Folder 22