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Johnson (Elle) papers
LSC.2362  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • General
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Related Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: Elle Johnson papers
    Creator: Johnson, Elle
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.2362
    Physical Description: 0.8 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1949-2006
    Date (bulk): 1950-1979
    Abstract: Eleanor ("Elle") Johnson (1922-2006) was a Los Angeles based dancer, choreographer, and teacher known for combining motifs of Afro-Cuban dance with modern dance. The collection is comprised of her personal papers ranging in date from 1949 to 2006, consisting primarily of photographic materials, newspaper clippings, publications, programs, flyers, and dance company administration records.
    Language of Material: Materials are primarily in English, one item in Spanish.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site. All requests to access special collections material must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is resticted. Please contact Special Collections reference (spec-coll@library.ucla.edu) for more information.

    Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

    Property rights to the physical objects belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. All other rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Elle Johnson papers (Collection 2362). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Rollie Lawson; Gift; 2006.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Carolina Meneses in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT) in consultation with Genie Guerard, and under the supervision of Courtney Dean and Jasmine Jones.

    General

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 8769475 

    Biographical / Historical

    Eleanor ("Elle") Johnson (1922-2006) was a Los Angeles based dancer, choreographer, and teacher known for combining motifs of Afro-Cuban dance with modern dance. She was born in Buffalo, New York, and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She attended Ohio State University where she received a BA in Fine Arts. After graduating in 1942, Johnson moved to New York City to pursue a career in commercial arts. Awestruck by a Katherine Dunham concert she attended, she decided to change her trajectory and pursue dancing. Dunham was a choreographer, dancer, teacher, and social activist best known as one of the founders of the anthropological dance movement and creator of the Dunham Technique, which combines traditional African and Caribbean dances with classical movement. Johnson received a scholarship to study under Dunham. She performed many times with Dunham's company and became involved with their costume design. She also took classes taught by José Limón. After three years with Dunham, Johnson moved to Los Angeles (late 1940s) and joined the Lester Horton Dance Group. She performed in Horton's choreographic works, including Another Touch of Klee (1951) and designed costumes for 7 Scenes With Ballabilli (1952). Johnson spent six years with Horton's company before forming her own dance troupe (early 1950s), the Elle Johnson Trio with Bruce Bain and David Hebel. They mostly performed in nightclubs, which Johnson came to dislike. She found more satisfaction in teaching dance and as such, taught private lessons on the side. Her students included actors Ty Hardin, Neile Adams, Portland Mason, Sue Ann Langdon, Helen O'Connell, and Irish McCalla. During this time, Johnson was assistant choreographer for such films as, The Robe (1953), The Silver Chalice (1954), Désirée (1954), The Egyptian (1954), and Untamed (1955). She also worked with Ward Ellis on the television film, The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1957). In 1966 Johnson founded her own company, the Elle Johnson Dance Company, which she created "with the objective of providing performing outlets for California dancers as well as a chance for choreographers to experiment (Glass, 1971)." Many of the works Johnson created included motifs of Afro-Cuban dance, as seen in Swadeski. Other original works like Soleus were more abstract and usually set to jazz music. Johnson's group performed throughout Los Angeles, from high schools to small theaters. Johnson became part of the teaching staff of the Music Center Dance Academy in 1970. All levels of dance practice were welcomed and Johnson taught modern dance classes. In 1999, Johnson was awarded the Lester Horton Dance Award for her teaching contributions. She retired shortly after. Johnson died of natural causes on March 10, 2006. She was survived by her husband Rollie Lawson and three children.
    References: Glass, Herbert. "Elle Johnson Dance Company." Performing Arts: The Music Center Monthly, March 1971.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection is comprised of the personal papers of Elle Johnson ranging in date from 1949 to 2006, consisting primarily of photographic materials, newspaper clippings, publications, programs, flyers, and dance company administration records.

    Organization and Arrangement

    This collection has been arranged at the folder level and is organized chronologically.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    COLLECTION CONTAINS AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS: Audiovisual materials in this collection will require assessment and possible digitization for safe access. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    COLLECTION CONTAINS DIGITAL MATERIALS: Special equipment or further processing may be required for viewing. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.

    Related Materials

    Dorathi Bock Pierre dance collection (1937).  Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Women dancers -- California, Southern -- Archives.
    Johnson, Elle -- Archives
    Elle Johnson Dance Company -- Archives