Scope and arrangement
The Mikhail Baryshnikov Archive holds awards, choreographer files, contracts, correspondence, photographs, press clippings, programs, scripts, and other materials documenting Baryshnikov's 40-plus year career. The bulk of the collection is composed of files from Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project and a wide range of photographs. There is a small component of documents and photographs pertaining to Baryshnikov's career before leaving the Soviet Union in 1974.
The choreographer files consist of contract agreements, professional correspondence, press releases, clippings, and other materials relating to dance professionals who were employed by the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation. The agreements are often with agents or the rights holders in the case of deceased choreographers. Dates refer to the dates of agreements, contracts and correspondence and not of the actual work being staged.
Company files hold a limited amount of correspondence and paperwork between Baryshnikov and a handful of the many dance companies with which he collaborated. The bulk of this material relates to the American Ballet Theatre.
Correspondence contains a mix of professional and personal letters to Baryshnikov. Noted choreographers and dancers, famous fans, and personal acquaintances are all represented. Much of the material is directly related to dance, whether it is Trisha Brown's description of Baryshnikov dancing her work, to Agnes DeMille's suggestions for Rodeo casting. There is correspondence from Romola and Kyra Nijinsky to Baryshnikov and his representatives, with replies by Howard Gillman regarding a possible film version of the life of Nijinsky. These materials include a book of poetry by Kyra Nijinsky in which she has written a letter suggesting that the poetry could be a basis for a film.
The photographs are primarily arranged by dance company, with some personal and miscellaneous professional photographs included. Company shots hold individual production photographs, identified by year and work where possible. There are some rehearsal and backstage images. Photographs taken in the Soviet Union include Kirov ballet images as well as childhood and young adult performance photographs accompanied by correspondence relating to these photographs. One letter is from a former teacher who had choreographed a ballet for Baryshnikov. Some images are scans sent to Baryshnikov over the years. Photographs for the White Oak Dance Project include images from the Judson Dance Theater, originally taken in the 1960s, which were used as digital slides for the Project's PASTForward tour in 2000. Among these slides there is also a video file.
The personal photographs include candid and posed shots with various celebrities and politicians at galas and after performances, as well as Polaroid shots from his 1979 trip to China and images of Baryshnikov receiving various honorary degrees.
Press clippings include a selection of newspaper and magazine articles regarding Baryshnikov's career. Programs hold individual performance programs, solo and with various dance companies, as well as programs from Baryshnikov's photography exhibitions.
There are various documents in Russian including his diploma from the Leningrad Academic College of Choreography, a driver's license with a traffic violation ticket, his membership card to the National Theatre Society, and a 1967 Vaganova School yearbook showing Baryshnikov and other dance students.
There are five scrapbooks, mostly compiled by others as gifts. Two show rehearsals and curtain calls from 1975 to 1977. The third is a Presidential album from Baryshnikov's 1979 performance for President Jimmy Carter and his family at the White House. There are two binders of press clippings, primarily from magazines with color pictures.
Baryshnikov's theatre and film materials include work scripts and some correspondence. Tour files hold logistical and press information for various solo tours, as well as tours with the White Oak Dance Project and the Forbidden Christmas tour in 2004.
The White Oak Dance Project materials consist of contracts with various dancers, choreographers, and vendors, a written project history, master programs, performance reports, programs, and a video inventory. The White Oak Dance Project was located near Jacksonville, Florida on the White Oak Plantation. The Project supported the workshops and eventual staging of new choreography from many artists, including Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, David Gordon, and many others. Of interest are the performance reports, noting the reaction of the audience at various tour locations, and the master programs, which include preliminaries sent ahead to each city on a tour.
Alphabetical by subject.