Beyond the Collection

ADLI has produced documentaries and publications that are used as part of its programming.


ADLI’s documentaries contain a complete performance of the represented dance work, with the original cast when possible. Documentaries also include discussions with the collaborating artists who have created and performed the work. ADLI documentaries center on the dance work itself, learning about the artists through deconstruction and discussion.

Click below on each title to read more about each documentary:

Resource Publications

ADLI’s resource publications may include lesson plans, dance video supplements, biographies, interdisciplinary units, student activities, annotated bibliographies, and assessment tools keyed to the National Standards for Dance Education.

Click below on each title to read more about each publication:


Lady Macbeth

Choreography by Mary Anthony

This documentary includes a performance of Mary Anthony's 1948 masterwork, Lady Macbeth as well as footage of Anthony coaching the dance in rehearsal and discussing how she used the Shakespeare text to develop movement vocabulary.

   Mary Anthony (1916-2014) was introduced to modern dance as a high-school student in Kentucky. Her first years as a dancer were based on the style of Mary Wigman, but it was not until an exposure in her late teens to the solo works of Martha Graham that she decided to move to New York City to wholly pursue a dance career. Her initial studies and scholarship awards in the early 1940s were with Hanya Holm and also spent touring with several Broadway shows. Her lead role performance in the London production of "Touch and Go" (1950) earned her an invitation to teach, perform, and choreograph for Italian musical theater, a position she held from 1950-1954, 1960-1961.
   Upon her return to the United States, she founded The Mary Anthony Dance Studio in 1954, and the company, The Mary Anthony Dance Theater, was established two years later. Praised for a lyrical flow that pushes even the most trained dancers to infuse each moment on stage with expressive sensitivity, Mary Anthony was renowned for maintaining a vision that remained true to the original spirit of modern dance. As one of the pioneers who brought serious modern dance to television and the mass audiences her works were added to the repertoires of countries around the world and her studio trained dancers to be both performers and creative theater artists.


Man of Action

Choreography by Daniel Nagrin

This video documents the passing on of a dance from one artist to another. Through rehearsal footage and interviews with Nagrin and John Pennington, viewers bear witness to this intimate process. The documentary includes two complete performances of Man of Action - archival footage of Nagrin in the original and Pennington in the reconstruction.

   Daniel Nagrin (1917-2008) was born in New York City where he made his professional debut with the company of Anna Sokolow. He then went on to work with Sue Ramos who introduced him to jazz dance. Nagrin met modern-dance choreographer Helen Tamiris who choreographed several roles for him on Broadway and co-founded the Tamiris-Nagrin Dance Company (1960-1965) with him. In 1957, Nagrin had his first full solo program, and many male dancers and older performers began to cite him as their inspiration.
   Nagrin’s choreography was based on jazz dance and music as well as traditional modern dance. His movement focused on gesture while his stage presence was notable for being distanced yet alert. He was also interested in video and sound design, and often incorporated words and images into his pieces before mixed media became a popular feature in American dance. He continued to perform and teach, serving as a dance professor at Arizona State University from 1982-1992.


Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder

Choreography by Donald McKayle

Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder is about men on a southern chain gang. The documentary features archival footage of the original cast performing the entire work on a 1959 CBS Camera 3 live television broadcast. Also included are recent interviews with Mr. McKayle, original cast members Mary Hinkson, Jaime Rogers, and folksinger Leon Bibb, as well as Walter Nicks, Clay Taliaferro, and Donna Wood.

   Donald McKayle was born in and raised in East Harlem, New York City. From an early age, he was interested in exploring the social issues and racial prejudices prevalent in segregated American society. In 1947, he witnessed a performance by Pearl Primus which sparked a passion for social dance. He auditioned for the New Dance Group where he was granted a scholarship. McKayle eagerly took advantage of the formal dance training provided by the company, and was soon choreographing his own pieces.
   McKayle has choreographed for Broadway and film, and his works are still performed by the likes of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the Cleveland San Jose Ballet, the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Theatre, and the Limón Dance Company. His works are known for exploring the human condition and themes of unity through emotional movement and dramatic characterization. He has received countless awards and accolades including a Tony Award in 1974 and the 2004 Heritage Award from the National Dance Association, and continues to be known today as an influential figure in the dance world.


Tenant of the Street

Choreography by Eve Gentry

This documentary includes biographical information about Eve Gentry, archival material, interviews with artists who worked with her, a performance of her 1936 signature work Tenant of the Street, and middle and high school students rediscovering the work and keeping it alive for their generation.

   Eve Gentry (1909-1994) was born in San Bernardino, California where she was trained in ballet and Spanish dance. While performing in Los Angeles, she was offered a scholarship by Martha Graham, and she relocated to New York City in 1929 where she proceeded to study with Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, and Helen Tamiris. She also danced with Ballet Arts and the Joffrey Ballet and was a member of the Hanya Holm Company from 1936-1942. In 1940, Gentry and three colleagues founded the Dance Notation Bureau, and she became the first person to teach Labanotation in the U.S.
   Gentry continued her solo career directing her own dance company, instructing movement at the Santa Fe Opera, and choreographing for film, stage, and television. Because she had persistent knee and back problems, she worked extensively with Joseph Pilates and taught “Contrology” from 1938-1968, and proceeded to become a life-long advocate for the Pilates method, even establishing her own studio in New Mexico. In 1979, Gentry was honored with the Bennington College “Pioneer of Modern Dance” award, and in 1989, was designated a “Living Treasure” by the city of Santa Fe. Gentry is remembered as a dancer, teacher, coach, and choreographer dedicated to the preservation of dance history as well as full-body health.


The Village I Knew

Choreography by Sophie Maslow

This documentary includes a full-length reconstruction of Sophie Maslow's classic masterpiece, The Village I Knew. Clad in the original costumes, the dancers bring to life the characters of a Jewish community of czarist Russia. Inspired by the stories of Sholom Aleichem, Maslow has captured the rituals, characters, joys and sorrow of the people. The documentary includes archival photographs and interview footage with Maslow and original cast member, Muriel Manings.

   Sophie Maslow (1911-2006) was born in New York City to Russian-American parents. She began training with Blanche Talmud at the Neighborhood Playhouse School where she learned from Martha Graham and Louis Horst. Maslow was a member of Martha Graham’s Company from 1931-1940, and the beginning of her dance career coincided with the Great Depression and the labor movement of the 1930s. Her early years were also spent with the Workers’ Dance League and the New Dance Group.
   Maslow’s work with the New Dance Group was inspired by the hardy physical labor of the working-class and she stated that her socialist printer father instilled in her the ability to work with a group. In 1943, Maslow formed the Sophie Maslow Dance Company and continued to use dance to make social and political statements—reconciling classical dance forms with folk dance. She went on to become a founding member of the American Dance Festival and the New York City Center Dance Theater. Maslow continued to perform and travel even in her eighties, and is remembered for preserving folk traditions and the spirit of modern dance.


Dancing Through the Curriculum

a guide to dance videotapes curated by and for teachers to enrich the school curriculum
Edited by Carolyn Adams and Julie Adams Strandberg

The guide is organized by grade-level and subject matter and contains practical activities, student worksheets, and assessment forms keyed to the National Standards. Tapes in the guide were chosen for their artistic merit, reasonable prices, and availability through established, reliable distributors.

Each video entry includes:

  • a brief history of the dance
  • biographical information about the major artists
  • suggestions on how to prepare students for viewing each tape
  • suggestions for what students should watch for as they view
  • post-viewing activities and student worksheets
  • student assessment forms keyed to the National Standards for Dance


Dancing Rebels

Biographies and annotated bibliographies of the New Dance Group
Written by Deborah Friedes, Mary Anne Santos Newhall, Kyle Shepard

Designed for middle and high school students, Dancing Rebels includes a brief history of the New Dance Group and short (2-5 page) biographies of New Dance Group artists, each with an annotated bibliography.


Roots and Branches: Exploring An Evolving Dance Legacy

Dance Education Lesson Studies of the New Dance Group
Edited by Diane McGhee and Pam Sofras

Roots and Branches studies great dance works through the prism of Repertory Etudes. It contains multi-week, interdisciplinary units comprised of student activities, assessment tools, and kinesthetic experiences. These standards-based lessons are intended to develop literacy in dance, elements and skills, aesthetics, culture and history, and creating and performing. Roots and Branches was developed by programs in higher education in collaboration with middle and high school teachers and students.