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Purdue University Division of Dance Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 10

Scope and Contents

The Purdue University Division of Dance Collection consists of scrapbooks, articles, tickets, brochures and pamphlets, gallery schedules, and photos and videos of performances. This collection will be useful for researchers interested in the history and development of the Purdue University Division of Dance, as well as performers and performances.


  • 1925 - 2012
  • Majority of material found within 2008 - 2012


Language of Materials

The collection material is in English.

Access Information

Collection is open for research. Electronic records in this collection have been migrated to an archives server and digital use copies can only be accessed onsite in the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections. Please request digital record prior to arrival.

Copyright and Use Information

Copyright held by Purdue University.

Historical Information

The first documented dance class taught at Purdue University was in 1931 when Dance was taught by the Women’s Physical Education Department under Women’s Athletics. It has been noted that dance was seen as one of the most popular activities during the indoor athletic season. In 1940 the Modern Dance club became the performance group associated with the PE department – their first performance was on February 23, 1962 at the Loeb Playhouse (instead of the Women’s Gym). The performance included pieces such as “Sculptures in Space” and “Leaves.” Additionally, an experimental piece titled “Sonic Contours” was performed which used synthetic sounds from a tape recording machine – starting the long tradition of the Dance Division to introduce new and experimental techniques into their performances.

In 1979 the Purdue modern dance club changed its name to the Purdue Repertory Dance Company and held its performance in Fowler Hall. Since 1983, the dance company has collaborated with various Purdue departments such as the Light and Sound Design Technology programs of the Theater Division within Creative Arts/Visual and Performance Arts. In 1989 the modern dance minor was implemented at Purdue University. Additional DANC course offerings were added to the curriculum at the time in dance improvisation, fundamentals of dance composition, choreography, dance appreciation and production/performance practicum. Courses in the dance discipline were also added to the College of Liberal Arts aesthetic awareness core curriculum requirement.

In 1991 the dance courses and the student dance company, Purdue Repertory Dance Company, were administratively transferred to the Creative Arts Department and called the Division of Dance. The two dance studios remained on the 3rd floor of Lambert Gym. At the same time the Creative Arts Department changed its name to Visual and Performing Arts Department. Since the implementation of the dance minor the faculty and students have focused on dance composition/choreography as their “research” area and have received numerous recognition awards at the American College Dance Regional Festival adjudication concerts. In 1996 and 1998 faculty works were selected for performance at the national ACDF Gala concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

In Fall 2002, faculty and students began collaborating on dance Technology performances using motion graphics and motion capture technology. Collaborators worked closely with Purdue’s Envision Center for Data Perceptualization. Currently dance faculty create technology inspired work with faculty and students from the Electronic Time Based Art program in the Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts.

In the fall of 2003 the Division of Dance physically moved out of the constrained Lambert Gym teaching space and began conducting classes in two new dance studios in Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts. Performances are held in the Nancy T. Hansen Theatre and the Dance Studio Theatre. In recognition of their contributions of $200,000 and $5 million respectively, a gallery in Pao Hall and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts were named in Honor of Patti and Rusty Rueff.

In 2009 the Purdue Repertory Dance Company changed its name to Purdue Contemporary Dance Company.

In 2011, the Liaison Librarian for Dance and the Data Services Specialist met with the Division of Dance faculty. During this initial meeting, the Dance faculty expressed an interest in preserving and sharing their creative output with others. Over time an opportunity arose to not only display the research of the Division of Dance but to also construct a Purdue Libraries “digital humanities template”: an immersive web presence to be used across multiple disciplines within Purdue University.

In early 2012, construction of a digital dance history began. The project involved multiple stakeholders across the Libraries as well as faculty from the Division of Dance. The aim of the project was two-fold: first, to create an online retrospective showcasing the cultural history of concert dance at Purdue from 1931-2011; second, to research the process of creating digital humanities projects within Purdue University Libraries. In order to complete this task, a sampling of concert dance history and research was integrated into a website.

The site was launched in June 2012 after four months of collaboration and development. The result, “Curiosity + Collaboration = Choreographic Expression,” includes a mixed media archival collection, original video compositions, and faculty interviews. The project resulted in a better understanding of digital humanities utilization within Purdue Libraries. More importantly, the immersive online presence promotes the history and scholarly research of the Division of Dance on a global scale.
Sources: Purdue Debris 1931 and 1944 Yearbooks, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

"Curiosity Collaboration = Choreographic Expression: A History of Concert Dance at Purdue University 1931-2011."


1.762 Cubic Feet (Three flat boxes)

312.00 Gigabytes : Digital folder contains files transferred from CD-R and DVD-R to Archives server.

0.025 Cubic Feet (Communal digital media box) : Folder in communal digital media box contains 10 CD-R and DVD-R discs and 1 digital video cassette.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged into two series: 1. Scrapbooks, 1925; 1960-2012 and 2. Dance Productions, 2002-2012. 1. Scrapbooks, 1925; 1960 – 2012 (1.762 cubic feet: 3 large flat boxs) The scrapbooks are housed in large flat boxes and contain but are not limited to photographs, fliers, articles, posters, newspaper clippings, and other information relating to performances. Highlights includes the first Purdue Repertory Dance Company logo and articles concerning the dedication of Yue-Kong Pao Hall. 2. Dance Productions, 2002 – 2012 (0.025 cubic feet: 1 folder) (312 GB digital material), and (0.025 cubic feet: 1 folder in communal box housing the physical media) This series consists of Purdue Contemporary Dance Company programs, digital photos and videos of full performances and dress rehearsals. Items have been arranged according to year and season and include accompanying choreography notes for some performances. Most material are born-digital files, including photos and videos, that have been arranged according to year and season. These digital files were transferred directly by Purdue Division of Dance to the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections via Dropbox. A portion of the digital items arrived to the archives on CDs and DVDs and one digital video cassette. Aside from the digital video cassette, all files that arrived in disck foramt have been transferred to an archives server for ease of access and preservation. Contact an archivist for a detailed inventory of digital files.

Physical Access Information

Access to digital material is available on-site in the reading room. Please contact Purdue University Archives and Special Collections for more information.

Material from the Digital Video Cassette, has not been transferred to the archives server. Please contact Purdue University Archives and Special Collections for more information.

Acquisition Information

The material comprising this collection was donated in installments by the Purdue University Dance Division via the Division Chair, Carol Cunningham-Sigman, on March 29, 2012, and again on May 31, 2012.

Method of Acquisition

The material was donated by the Purdue University Dance Division via Division Chair Carol Cunningham – Sigman.

Processing Information

The scrapbooks are in their original format but the first scrapbook has been dismantled and the material has been digitized for preservation reasons. Digital photos and videos have been arranged according to year and season. Digital media transferred to the archives via CD or DVD have been transferred to an archives server for preservation and ease of access. The archivist has maintained the order as received and as such, the title and type of carrier media (CD or DVD) has been listed although the physical disks are no longer the source of access.
Purdue University Division of Dance Collection
Amanda J. Rumba, Carly Dearborn, Stephen Horrocks, Margaret Sheble
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Fourth edition. Collection description was first completed by Margaret Sheble in April 2015.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States