Agnes de Mille and The Female Narrative

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Agnes de Mille and The Female Narrative

Panel discussing archival film extracts, live performance excerpts, and de Mille's writing to examine her most memorable female characters

By New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

When and where

Date and time

Starts on Monday, April 3 · 6pm EDT


New York Public Library for the Performing Arts -Bruno Walter Auditorium Enter via 111 Amsterdam Ave. between West 64th and 65th Street New York, NY 10023-7498

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About this event

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Mobile eTicket

This event will take place in person at the Library for the Performing Arts.

To honor Agnes de Mille on the 30th Anniversary of her passing, The De Mille Working Group will present a public program featuring live performances, panel discussion, and historical film footage. Moderated by Linda Murray, Curator for the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, and Interim Executive Director of the Library for the Performing Arts, the panel will focus on de Mille’s multi-faceted female characters, exploring the meaning and intent behind thechoreographer’s vision.

Free to the public, the program will feature a notable panel of experts including Virginia Johnson, Kathleen Moore, and Elena Zahlmann, all former interpreters of de Mille’s most iconic roles. Diana Byer, Artistic Director Emerita of New York Theatre Ballet and stager of de Mille works, and Diana Gonzalez-Duclert, former rehearsal assistant to de Mille, professor, and associate director and répétiteur of the De Mille Working Group, will round out the panel to discuss the enduring relevance of de Mille’s work.

Live performance excerpts scheduled for “Agnes de Mille and The Female Narrative” include Emma Von Enck and Victor Abreu of New York City Ballet in a solo and pas de deux from de Mille’s choreography of the 1945 musical Carousel, and Elena Zahlmann, NYTB Associate Director, in de Mille’s solo from Debut at the Opera (1927). Performances will be accompanied by New York City Ballet pianist Michael Scales.

Film footage from many of de Mille’s historic works, some never seen publicly, will be shown throughout the program, including excerpts from the film Ballet Class (1929), “Civil War Ballet” from Bloomer Girl (1944, 1956 film), a televised version of Fall River Legend performed by Dance Theatre of Harlem (1989), and a filmed performance of The Informer performed by American Ballet Theatre (1988).

About Agnes de Mille

Agnes de Mille was a renowned dancer, choreographer, writer, lecturer and director whose

concert and choreographic career spanned almost 70 years of the 20th century. She forever

changed the course of American dance for both ballet and musical theater. De Mille celebrated

the American spirit through narrative ballets, which were driven, most often, through strong

women characters. Her long illustrious career produced over 21 ballets and 17 musical theater

productions. A pioneer for women in the arts throughout the 20th century, she was one of the first

women to both direct and choreograph a Broadway musical and was a founding member for the

union of stage directors and choreographers (SDC) for which she was the only female president

of a trade union at the time. A great stateswoman for the arts, she was appointed by President

John F. Kennedy to the National Advisory Committee for the Arts and the later National Council

of the newly formed National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) by President Lyndon Johnson.

Throughout her long and illustrious career, de Mille was a tremendous artistic and intellectual

force who helped shape the identity and history of the American performing arts through her

artistry, engagement, and search for the “intrinsic American.”

About The De Mille Working Group

De Mille Productions was established in 1993 by Jonathan Prude, an heir to Agnes de Mille, to

promote the performance and licensing of Agnes de Mille’s choreographic works. The ballets are

owned by Jonathan Prude, and the licensing and stagings are administered and overseen by The

De Mille Working Group, under the executive directorship of Anderson Ferrell.

While tickets to all events at the Library for the Performing Arts are free, seating is granted on a first come first serve basis. Five minutes before showtime, seats will be given out to people on the wait list regardless of reservation status.

About the organizer

About The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts houses one of the worlds most extensive combination of circulating, reference, and rare archival collections in its field. These materials are available free of charge, along with a wide range of special programs, including exhibitions, seminars, and performances. An essential resource for everyone with an interest in the arts — whether professional or amateur — the Library is known particularly for its prodigious collections of non-book materials such as historic recordings, videotapes, autograph manuscripts, correspondence, sheet music, stage designs, press clippings, programs, posters, and photographs.

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