Scope and arrangement
The Yeichi Nimura and Lisan Kay Nimura Papers range in date from 1903- 2006 and document Nimura's and Kay's shared and independent personal and professional lives as dancers, choreographers, teachers, performance partners, dance school administrators and, after 1964, spouses. Included are: correspondence; teaching notes; choreographic and rehearsal notes related to Lute Song (1946), Tropic Etude (1960) and other works; press books featuring Nimura's and Kay's 1930s, multinational tour; annotated scores; professional and personal photographs; programs; clippings; material related to the publication of Jiden (1971), Nimura's autobiography; material concerning the annual Nimura Award; publicity and other materials related to Ballet Arts at Studio 61, Carnegie Hall and its sister school in Tokyo; published and unpublished articles by and about Yeichi Nimura; Lisan Kay's writings, including journals and drafts of And So to Up!, her unpublished biography of Yeichi Nimura; material related to Lisan Kay's family; and material concerning Yeichi Nimura's death. Nimura's journals from 1941-1942 are among his personal writings. Articles, correspondence and diaries of Virginia Lee, Nimura's manager and fellow co-founder of Ballet Arts at "61" Carnegie Hall, are also included in these papers. Most of the material is in English; portions of the correspondence, clippings, and programs are in Japanese. These papers provide valuable insight into the life and work of Yeichi Nimura, widely praised in the 1920s and 30s as a modern dancer blending aesthetics of the East and West and, after 1940, less well-known as a master teacher, occasional choreographer and supporter of Japanese dance artists. Substantial amount of material concerns Lisan Kay's personal and professional life, and demonstrates her ongoing efforts to keep Nimura's work and reputation in the public eye and remembered for the future. The bequest of these papers by Lisan Kay Nimura furthers the realization of her goals.
The Yeichi Nimura and Lisan Kay Nimura papers are arranged in seven series:
This series contains personal and professional correspondence from colleagues, students, cast members, organizations and others. Most letters are in English. Some correspondence between Nimura and Japanese associates is in Japanese (with some translation). Of particular interest are folders holding Nimura's and Kay's correspondence, which include a 39-page handwritten manuscript by Nimura in Japanese (probably a historical account), and the informal, handwritten notes between Yeichi Nimura and Lisan Kay in English regarding the daily upkeep of studio "61" at Carnegie Hall. A steady flow of correspondence with Masao Fujiwara spans the decades and reveals his importance to Nimura and Kay as a Japanese liaison, administrator and friend who oversaw many of Nimura's projects and posthumous tributes. Correspondence with Aiko Ohtaki provides information regarding Ballet Arts of Carnegie Hall in Tokyo.
Writings about and by Yeichi Nimura and material related to Nimura's choreography are featured in this series. Most text is in English; some is in Japanese. Chronologies and review excerpts from 1932-1937 documents Nimura and Kay's peripatetic overseas tour and the widespread critical acclaim they received. The process behind the publication of Nimura's autobiography Jiden (1971) is revealed in correspondence between Lisan Kay, Masao Fujiwara, Natusuya Mitsuyoshi, Lucile Marsh and others. Choreographic works are arranged alphabetically by title and include Lisan Kay's rehearsal notes. Vital to this series is material regarding the founding and administration of the annual Nimura Award, established by Yeichi Nimura in 1973 to recognize outstanding Japanese dance artists.
Nimura's two journals (1941 and 1942) are found in Sub-series B. These chronicle daily teaching, leisure, social activities, and world events in minimalist English prose. Nimura's concerns regarding U. S. citizenship during, and post-, World War II are revealed in the Immigration Subseries A and intermittently in his journals. His importance to the lives of colleagues and students in the United States and Japan is reflected in the material concerning his death.
Lisan Kay's journals and notebooks span seventy-six years, documenting her dance training and the development of her professional and personal lives from adolescence through maturity. Kay's freelance work as a teacher, choreographer and performer is represented by contracts, publicity, and other materials in Subseries A and B. Manuscripts and revisions of And So to Up!, Kay's unpublished biography of Yeichi Nimura, are held in Writings. Kay's devotion to her mother and Aunt Dora, along with her ongoing quest for information about her father and other ancestors, is revealed in correspondence and print materials held in Subseries E.
The bulk of this series documents Ballet Arts School, which began at Studio "61" Carnegie Hall in 1940, with correspondence, class schedules, publicity material and clippings. Material prior to1940 documents Studio "61" aka The Nimura Studio (or Yeichi Nimura Studios). Virginia Lee's diaries (1939-1940) reveal her thoughts about day-to-day studio management and Nimura's artistry. The establishment of Ballet Arts of Carnegie Hall in Tokyo is represented in correspondence, letters of agreement, et al. General Correspondence (Series I) holds content related to Ballet Arts, including letters from former students and from Aiko Ohtaki, director of Ballet Arts of Carnegie Hall in Tokyo.
Among the professional images are numerous studio portraits and performance photographs of Yeichi Nimura and Lisan Kay as independent artists and as partners. Rehearsal and performance photos of Nimura's choreography are alphabetically arranged by title of work. Candid location snapshots depict Yeichi Nimura, Lisan Kay and Virginia Lee during their 1930s multinational tour. Visits to Nimura and Kay from colleagues in the arts and business are amply documented in the Personal subseries.
Scores dominate this series and are arranged alphabetically by composer's last include holographs and published sheet music, with annotations and revisions. Alda name. These Astori, Lily Strickland, Georges Migot, and Aaron Avshalomoff are among the composers represented. Titles of corresponding choreographic works have been noted, when known. Press Books programs, correspondence, and clippings related to Nimura and Kay's 1930s Nimura and Graphic Materials include Nimura's birth certificate (in Japanese) and artwork by overseas tour. associates, as well as clippings and announcements. Photo albums document the second Nimura Award ceremony, the First Suwa City Arts Festival and the Nimura Memorial in Suwa. Photographs include enlargements of professional images found in Series VI, as well as unique images from Nimura's and Kay's personal lives.