In the late 1970s the dance critic Barbara Newman conducted a series of interviews with ballet dancers. Edited versions of these interviews were compiled in her book Striking a Balance: Dancers Talk About Dancing. The full interviews were stored on audiocassettes, a medium with a limited lifespan. As the magnetic tapes aged and the format moved closer to obsolescence, it became clear that action was necessary to preserve their content. The class’s primary goal, then, was preservation. Each interview was converted to a .wav file in an attempt to make sure that the recordings would not be lost to time.
This site serves as a digital archive not just of the interviews, but also of Newman’s project as a whole. It does not aim to be a comprehensive archive of the history of ballet, but rather a document of a particular moment in dance history.
This site was built by students at Pratt Institute’s School of Information and Library Science for Professor Anthony Cocciolo’s Projects in Digital Archives class in the spring and fall semester of 2012 and fall of 2013.
Due to issues of copyright and privacy, it was not possible to provide unmediated access to the full interviews online, but short clips of each recording are available to the general public in accordance with fair use principles. Each clip is accompanied by the introduction to the edited interviews as they appeared in Newman’s book.