Preserving the Past–With Today’s Technology
Tom Hagood is on a mission to preserve the legacy of dance. “How many dances are already gone forever?” he asks. “They live in people’s bodies, but they’re disintegrating in technologies that we no longer have machines to play them on.” Along with the National Dance Education Organization and his colleague Luke Kahlich, Hagood recently completed a project to share a rare publication started by Anna Halprin in the 1950s.
While researching his dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Hagood stumbled across Impulse, an annual yearbook of writings on dance created by Halprin and Marian Van Tuyl. Over a period of 20 years, dance luminaries like José Limón, Anna Sokolow and Alwin Nikolais contributed essays to annual, themed issues such as “Dance in the Screen Media” and “Current Trends.”
Hagood has digitized every issue, making it easily available online for the public. He and Kahlich also invited dance scholars to write a reflection on each issue of Impulse; this collection was published as Perspectives on Contemporary Dance History: Revisiting Impulse 1950–1970 (Cambria Press, 2013). The original Impulse annuals are now available at digital.library.temple.edu via Temple University’s Paley Library.
Photo courtesy of Cambria Press