Scope and arrangement
The Nala Najan papers hold correspondence, contracts, diaries, programs, photographs, writings, and other files relating to the career and personal life of the artist. Najan's correspondence spans 50 years and consists of personal and professional letters. Correspondence is arranged by date, with the exception of letters from Mohan Khokar,Joseph Levine, and Ted Shawn which Najan kept separately. Shawn was a supporter of Najan's early career, and the two fostered a strong friendship during their time working together at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in the 1960s. Also of interest within Najan's correspondence are letters composed while he was studying in Madras, India around 1953. There are letters home as well as those from individuals helping him in India, including a fortune telling letter insinuating that he was having trouble at the moment and not to make any drastic changes. His correspondence from 1963 coincides with another trip to India on which he traveled extensively and performed.
Najan's diaries detail his day to day activities. Though they are written in day planner or calendar style books, the entries were composed after the fact and are at times very detailed. These diaries document his trips to India and his struggles with the business of earning a living through dance. The entries dating from 1970 on are less descriptive.
The Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival files hold correspondence from festival staff, programs, mailers, handouts and other documents relating to Najan's participation. Najan not only performed at many of the festivals but was instrumental in introducing Indian born and trained artists to the festival stage.
The Nala Najan Dance Company materials contain correspondence, financial materials, program mock-ups, lists of dancers, and copies of press letters written by publicist Richard Pleasant, offering complimentary tickets to various dance luminaries and critics. His notes include information taken down during other's classes or lectures, as well as some handwritten choreographic notes, though this material is limited. His personal papers include family documents, copies of birth and death certificates, identification cards, and legal paperwork relating to Najan's 1985 mugging in New York City.
Najan's photographs consist of promotional shots - both of Najan dancing and of other dancers or artists whom he supported. There are some personal photographs, including school pictures of Najan and candid snapshots of his travels. The programs document events in which Najan was a performer or participant, as well as recitals that he attended or supported in some way. Even after Najan stopped dancing, he still appeared as a lecture guest, choreographer, or adviser in events into the 1980s.
Najan's writings files are made up of typed drafts, handwritten notes, and art clippings that eventually made their way into articles. There are no final copies of his writings in these papers. Often the drafts are unidentified or fragmentary.
Alphabetical by subject.