Above, an excerpt from a silent film of dance classes at Bennington College in 1934, taken from the American Dance Festival Archives.
The ADF Archives preserves historical records for use by students, researchers, and the dance community. In addition to the records of the festival itself, the archives collects film, video, photos, audiotapes, and personal papers created by other individuals and institutions, including the papers of choreographers Pearl Primus and Laura Dean, and the records of the ADF’s documentary Free to Dance: The African-American Presence in Modern Dance, which aired on PBS’ Great Performances: Dance in America in 2001. Descriptions of the ADF’s collections can be found on the Archives Collections webpage.
A large part of the ADF Archives consists of film and videotape documenting the festival. There is film going all the way back to the festival’s beginnings in 1934, and there is even one film, of a Martha Hill class in 1930, that pre-dates the festival. Each summer, the Archives continues to document the festival, primarily by videotaping performances, showings, classes, panel discussions, and other special events. Many of these videos are available to the public in Duke University’s Lilly Library.
Below, an excerpt from a 1972 reconstruction of Doris Humphrey’s With My Red Fires, also taken from the ADF Archives.