Scope and arrangement
Welland Lathrop (1905-1981) was a dancer, teacher, painter, and choreographer and a leader of the west coast modern and avant-garde dance movement. The Welland Lathrop papers consist of materials reflecting his decades long career as an artist. The collection is divided into five series: Costume Design, Labanotation, Photographs, Scores, and Subject Files. The costume design series contains both sketches and full realizations with fabric. Lathrop's labanotation holds the choreography for his works. The photographs consist of pictures of specific choreographed works as well as rehearsal and publicity photographs. Series IV contains handwritten music for Lathrop's dance compositions. The subject files are composed of materials relating to Lathrop's involvement in all aspects of the West Coast arts scene.
Additionally, the collection holds audio recordings for several of Lathrop's dances including Partita, and a set of records with Southwestern Native American music.
Inquiries regarding audio and video materials in the collection may be directed to the Jerome Robbins Dance Division (email@example.com). Audio/visual materials may be subject to preservation evaluation and migration prior to access.
The Welland Lathrop papers are arranged in five series:
The costume design series contains costume sketches and full realizations with fabric samples created by Lathrop, as well as some sketches by designer Eugene Schultz. There are designs for specific and unidentified Lathrop performances, and notebooks filled with ideas and inspiration. Mediums include pen and ink, pastels, and acrylic paints. There is also a file on Rudolf Schaeffer, Lathrop's design teacher which includes his essay on Rhythmo-Chromatic Design and the Creative Process. This series reflects Lathrop's early training as a designer as well as his intention to infuse visual design elements into his dances. Notable in this series is a Lathrop designed skirt that was used in the performace of Partita. Arrangement is alphabetical by subject.
Series II holds handwritten labanotation for many of Lathrop's works. All labanotation is marked on graph paper in pencil, and often accompanied by notes, changes, cuts, and additions. One can ascertain how much Lathrop's choreography evolved even after he reached the point of transcribing it. Most are bound in notebooks. There is also a workbook used by Lathrop when he was learning to use labanotation, as well as several unidentified pages of notes, which may be portions of a dance or just a record of ideas.
The photographs series consists of pictures of Lathrop's choreographic works, performed by other dancers and him, as well as photographs of his company dancers. The choreography photographs are often undated. When they are dated, the date indicates the specific performance photographed, and not the date the work premiered. Lathrop's works were performed many times through the decades under his direction. The company dancers photographs includes shots of individual dancers working, publicity shots, rehearsal images, and studio shots.
Series IV contains handwritten music for Lathrop's dance compositions. Many of the scores were written specifically for his needs. All are undated. Most scores are marked with Lathrop's notes and dance ideas. Some are split into orchestra parts, including percussion, but most are simply basic piano scores.
Series V is composed of files relating to Lathrop's involvment in all aspects of the West Coast arts scene. This series contains art, correspondence, interviews, programs,scrapbooks, posters, dance institution files, and writings.
Lathrop was not only a talented choreographer and dancer, he was a designer and artist. Although the collection does not contain any of his paintings, there are slides of 72 of his works in this series. There is also a collection of art by his friend and colleague Charlotte Townsend, who depicted dancers and their motion through a series of simple line drawings. Townsend's other work includes a book about Lathrop entitled A Dancer Prepares to Create a Dance as well as original sketches of Lathrop and his company dancers.
The correspondence in this series is limited and primarily personal. There are notes from friends and colleagues and letters to and from his wife, Nina. More correspondence can be found in the file on Lathrop's Endangered Species, for which he was awarded an NEA grant. This file covers the financial and logistical negotiations for his creation of the piece in tandem with the Xorgos Performing Company.
The scrapbooks in this series hold photographs, programs, and some clippings. The bulk of the writings files contain Lathrop's essays for Impulse Dance Magazine, which was founded and published by the Halprin-Lathrop studio as a contemporary dance magazine. The collection holds a selection of issues from 1949-1966.