Scope and arrangement
The Zachary Solov papers (1870-2005) contain programs, notes, photographs, posters, scrapbooks and personal materials relating to the career of the noted dancer, choreographer, and ballet master. The collection includes programs and materials from the dance companies and theaters in which Solov worked, production materials from various ballets and musicals, photographs (both work related and personal), marked scores, scrapbooks, and subject files.
The collection also includes video of the Kansas City Ballet, the Littlefield Ballet, and a movie narrated by Solov - Dance on Film: 1894-1912.
Inquiries regarding video materials in the collection may be directed to the Jerome Robbins Dance Division. Audio/visual materials may be subject to preservation and migration prior to access.
The Zachary Solov papers are arranged in six series:
This series houses programs, playbills, advertisements, notes, and other materials relating to Solov's work with various dance companies, theaters, and institutions. The majority of the material is programs, with Solov usually credited as choreographer. Solov's extensive career with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet is documented, including not only his time as ballet master (1951-1958) but stints as a guest choreographer through the early 1980s. Work with other companies such as the Littlefield Ballet, the New York City Ballet, and the Operetta Carnival is represented. Of interest is evidence of Solov's work for the Melody Fair Theater in Buffalo, New York and St. John Terrell's Music Circus in New Jersey - where he choreographed for numerous summer tent musicals - such as South Pacific, No, No Nannette, and Bloomer Girl. Materials from the Zachary Solov Ballet Ensemble's 1961-1962 American tour are also here, and contain company lists as well as programs and some clippings.
- 1967 and undated
Series II consists of materials relating to specific productions on which Solov worked as a choreorgrapher. Materials may include librettos, notes, sketches, programs, and dancer lists. Often there is no year or venue listed. The Don Giovanni file contains the original labanotation for Solov's choreography for the minuet dance within that opera.
The photographs series contain both images of Solov at work (dancing and teaching), and personal snapshots. The dance photographs consist of a selection of general dance photographs, which include many posed studio shots of Solov as well as other dancers, and Solov dancing in various locations such as on the beach, the woods, and for friends and family. Other dance photographs include Solov as a child performer, photographs of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, loose photographs of his Army productions, and scrapbook pages containing photographs from Ballet Caravan's 1941 tour of South America.
Oversized photographs, primarily consist of headshots and various dance poses of Solov, and Metropolitan Opera productions, 1952-1958
The scores and music series holds a selection of sheet music, bound scores, and other materials Solov used in his work as a choreographer. None are identified as to which specific production in which they were utilized. For example, a score for Otello does not specify at which opera company it was used. Items range from full bound scores of operas, handwritten music labeled Indian Dance, scores for musical theater, and music for ballet. Some are unmarked save Solov's name, but other scores are marked with the entrances and exits of specific dancers, ideas for movements to accompany the music, cuts and repeats, and other notations made by Solov in the course of his work.
This series houses eight scrapbooks created by Solov early in his career. Three of the scrapbooks, dating from 1936-1938, detail Solov's performances as a teenager. Kept almost like a diary, they include notes on what dances were done, signed photographs from other performers he encountered, cards, programs, souvenir buttons and radio scripts from various venues. Solov often made note of any prize money won or tips received for his performances.
Three scrapbooks document his time with the military in a performance capacity. Scrapbooks for the Air Force Caperers, The AIR WAC Revue, and one general scrapbook contain photographs, programs, and newspaper clippings. Since the revues toured the United States, there are reviews from nearly every city stop as well as candid photographs of the cast as they toured the country. These scrapbooks date from 1943 to 1945.
There are also two scrapbooks of clippings, dated 1951-1952 and 1954-1955, detailing Solov's choreographic work as well as his work as a dance master with the Metropolitan Opera.
The subject files series contains materials from various aspects of Solov's professional life. Files consist of art, awards, autographs, correspondence, committee and society materials, a thesis written about Solov's work by Patricia Masden, and his writings.
Art includes unsigned abstract art, scenic design paintings, and copies of inspirational art (for example, Egyptian art for use in designing ballet segments for the Metropolitan Opera Ballet). The autographs consist of photographs of dancers and other personalities that have been personalized either to Solov or occasionally to John Martin. There are letters, notifications, and certificates on awards given to Solov over the course of his career, including the Capezio Dance Award and the Philadelphia Arts Festival Dance Award.
Solov's contracts are held in this series. They contain not only the actual legal contracts, but accompanying correspondence, negotiations, and more informal agreements spanning his entire career.
There is a limited selection of correspondence, primarily of a business nature. Notable correspondents include Ted Shawn (asking Solov to dance solo at the Jacob's Pillow festival) and Agnes DeMille (who wrote a heartfelt letter upon the death of John Martin). Congratulatory telegrams were kept separately and are included in this series.
The oversized posters document both Metropolitan Opera Ballet productions as well as the Zachary Solov Ballet Ensemble's tour.
Solov's writings include a lecture he gave at Ithaca College in 1980 where he discusses his childhood, working in the opera, the negative effect of unions on the creative process, and a typed essay entitled Opera Ballet.