Scope and arrangement
The Walter Nicks papers date from 1899 to 2004 and document Walter Nicks' career as a choreographer, educator, and director of the Walter Nicks Dance Theatre Workshop. The collection holds professional files, photographs, slides, programs, articles, and posters. A small amount of personal material is also included in the collection.
Professional files consist of correspondence, contracts, dance course and workshop schedules, syllabi, newsletters, meeting agendas, scholarly articles, resumes and biographies of dancers, and Nicks' choreography and class exercise notes. The professional files document Nicks' involvement in a wide-range of dance-related endeavors. The National Endowment for the Arts Artists-in-Schools program, the Walter Nicks Dance Theatre Workshop, The International Association of Blacks in Dance, and his teaching and performing in Sweden are among the best-represented projects.
The activities of the Walter Nicks Dance Theatre Workshop are well represented through correspondence; funding invoices and budgets; agreements with contractors (soloists);workshop and class schedules; and programs. The company's search for dancers, funding, and solidifying the company's mission are among topics of correspondence. The Workshop's affiliation with the Connecticut College American Dance Festival is documented through festival schedules, meeting agendas, and other planning documents. Documents relating to the Artists-in-Schools program consist of applications from teachers requesting lessons for their classes, letters and drawings from kids, correspondence with state arts councils and the National Endowment for the Arts, and meeting and course schedules. Faculty meeting agendas, rules and regulations for faculty and students, annual reports, and class outlines document Nicks' involvement with the Swedish dance community in Stockholm. These documents are chiefly in Swedish. The material in the general professional files represent the high demand for Nicks' services by a wide range of communities. Correspondence relates to his availability to teach classes and workshops, to consult for existing dance programs and companies, and to perform and speak at conferences and fund-raisers. Resumes and biographical information on other dancers and instructors are here, as well as miscellaneous course schedules and syllabi.
Photographs and slides in this collection date from the 1950s to the 1990s and document performances, teaching, and some of Nicks' personal travels. Early photographs document Nicks' first dance company, El Ballet Negro de Walter Nicks. Performances pictured include Sans Souci in Havana, Cuba, and the company's appearance on LA V02 Dominicana Television in the Dominican Republic. Nicks' fellowship to study cultural movement in Brazil in 1956 is documented thoroughly. Images of the The Walter Nicks Dance Theatre Workshop show dancers in the studio, at performances, and in more casual settings. Members of the company in the photographs are Walter Nicks, Vendetta Mathea, Alvin McDuffle, Jack Walsh, Diedre Lovell, and Bruce Taylor. There are several photographs of Nicks teaching dance classes in Sweden.
Programs and Publications generally document dance companies, events, and projects not specifically pertaining to Nicks' career, though some announcements and programs for pieces he performed in or choreographed are present. Materials primarily date from 1946 to 2002, with four issues of the short-lived literary and artistic magazine, El Quatre Gats, dated 1899. Material consists of programs, newsletters, announcements, scholarly articles, newspaper clippings, and journals relating to dance and the arts. Articles range in topic from dance history and technique, to reviews of performances put on by both Nicks and other companies.
Posters in this collection announce performances, workshops, and other events that Nicks was involved in. The posters predominantly advertise the work he did in the 1970s and 1980s with the Walter Nicks Dance Theatre Workshop.
The collection holds a small amount of personal material, primarily consisting of correspondence with friends, colleagues, and past students. Documents relating to Nicks' long time companion, Arthur O'Neil, are also present, including O'Neil's sheet music, his resumes, and correspondence between the two.
This collection holds some film reels and other audiovisual material. Inquiries regarding audiovisual material in the collection may be directed to the Dance Division at firstname.lastname@example.org. Audiovisual material will be subject to preservation evaluation and migration prior to access.
The collection is predominantly in English with some material in Swedish and French.
The collection is arranged into five groups: Professional Files; Photographs and Slides; Programs and Publications; Personal Files; and Posters.