Twelve distinguished dance figures join the Dance Heritage Coalition‘s list of “America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures.” These new honorees were nominated by a national survey and vote in 2012 and were confirmed by the Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC) Board of Directors. The 12 figures are celebrated online along with the initial list of 100 in an online exhibition of “Dance Treasures,” through a grant funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

“America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100” was created by the DHC in 1999 from nominations submitted nationwide and vetted by a panel of experts; the Treasures formed the basis of the DHC’s traveling exhibition curated by Norton Owen and Lynn Garafola, which visited seven locations from 2004 to 2009. With the closing of the touring exhibit in 2009, the commemorative materials have been expanded and collected on the DHC’s website located at A separate webpage is devoted to each of the Treasures, with essays, resource lists and curated visual materials. New pages for the 12 honorees have now been added to the online exhibition, which was launched in July 2012 and continues to grow.



Rosemary Candelario, assistant professor of dance at Texas Women’s University, said, “The Dance Heritage Coalition’s “100 Treasures” online exhibition is an invaluable resource for my undergraduate dance classes. The new essays, in particular, give students an excellent introduction to a variety of dance styles and artists, while the selected resources provide suggestions for those who want to learn more. Highly recommended!”

Nominations and votes were solicited in spring 2012 with the original intention of adding 10 new Treasures to the original 100. However, in recognition of extremely close voting and in honor of the year 2012, it was decided to bring the number up to 12. The honorees are:

Jacques d’Amboise
Jane Dudley
Garth Fagan
Frederic Franklin
LoĂŻe Fuller
Carmen de Lavallade
Michael Jackson
John Martin
Sophie Maslow
Daniel Nagrin
The Rockettes
Maria Tallchief

The list of “America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures” encompasses individuals, organizations, and dance styles, and is intended to heighten public interest in the magnificence and richness of America’s dance heritage and the imperative to document and preserve it for future generations. The online exhibition devoted to the Treasures is intended as an educational resource to improve dance literacy, as a tribute to the achievements and legacy of American dance, and as a sampling of the best in dance history and critical writing.

What makes something or someone irreplaceable?  According to the press release, an irreplaceable dance treasure has:
– Made a significant impact on dance as an art form
– Demonstrated artistic excellence
– Enriched the nation’s cultural heritage
– Demonstrated the potential to enhance the lives of future generations
– Shown itself worthy of national and international recognition.

Imogen Smith, who coordinated the commissioning and editing of the essays, reflected, “One of the most exciting aspects of the exhibition is that it brings together contributors from many parts of the dance history field. We have essays by senior academic scholars, advanced students launching their careers, working dance critics, current or former dancers and choreographers, and dance archivists and librarians. The writers were not only passionate about their own topics but eager to explore the works of their colleagues and discover new voices.”

Libby Smigel, executive director of the Dance Heritage Coalition, added, “By transforming our traveling exhibition into a web resource, we can make it available to far more users, as well as expanding the range of materials we can present. The site also serves to point students and researchers toward the vast resources for dance that are not online but are available in archives and libraries. We are encouraging people to deepen their searches and discover the riches of print and archival collections.”

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