Guide to the Orchesis Records 1914-1995
Cage 597

Summary Information

Repository
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Creator
Orchesis
Title
Orchesis Record
ID
Cage 597
Date [inclusive]
1914-1995
Extent
15.0 containers.
General Physical Description note
7.5 linear feet of shelf space.
Language
English
Abstract
Financial and membership records, production files, notes, programs, scrapbooks and photographs, chiefly of dance performances at Washington State University. Significant figures include Alice Gates and Wilhelmina Sarai-Clark.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description]. Cage 597, Orchesis Record. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Biographical/Historical note

Orchesis (from the Greek, "to dance") was founded at Washington State College in 1923. Leota Scott, then a senior at WSU and a temporary dance instructor, had joined national Orchesis the year before while she was in Wisconsin studying under Margaret H. Doubler. The group began when she returned to WSU. At first, Orchesis was little more than an informal gathering of female dance students interested in learning and practicing the concepts of modern interpretive dance. It became more structured as time went on; members were admitted by vote during dance try-out competitions. By the end of the 1920s, the group regularly elected officers and performed for the public.

Orchesis usually held at least two formal recitals a year, one every fall and spring. Additionally, the group was regularly featured on Mom's Weekend each spring, danced for community group and public school programs, and performed as part of the Northwest Physical Education Association Annual Convention. During the 1930s, the group worked closely with Garfield High School students in performing musicals under the direction of Eva Jurgensohn. In the 1940s and 1950s, Orchesis collaborated with WSU drama. and music groups to choreograph and perform Song of Norway,  Dark of the Moon,  Little Prince, and many other productions. The group also sponsored campus appearances by professional dancers and dance companies including Charles Weidman, Emily Frankel, Harriet Ann Gray, Gertrude Lippencott and the Charles Fagan Dance Company. In 1957, the Junior Orchesis organization was established. Orchesis was inactive during that year and it is possible that Jr. Orchesis was created because dancers that year did not fully qualify for the local or national standards for Orchesis membership.

Dance has been part of the WSU Department of Physical Education curriculum since 1919. The first Orchesis members took P.E. dance courses and sometimes taught them, as had been the case with WSU Orchesis founder, Leota Scott. Orchesis faculty advisors have without exception been women associated with physical education. Orchesis had many such advisors for the period 1923-1946, usually temporary instructors with an interest and a background in modern dance. This changed in 1946 when Alice Gates came to WSU and began a twenty-three year career as an associate professor of physical education, dance instructor and advisor to Orchesis.

Ms. Gates was educated at Wellesley College and at Columbia University, receiving her M.A. in 1940. She studied with the top dance professionals of the day, including Martha Graham and Evelyn Davis. Before coming to WSU she taught dance at Hood College in Maryland, Rockford College in Illinois, and Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Ms Gates was devoted to Orchesis and worked with unceasing determination to bring new ideas and opportunities to the group and to expose many people to Orchesis. Her efforts were enhanced when, in 1960, Toni Weaver came to WSU, joined Orchesis, assisted Alice Gates and gradually took on many of the advisory responsibilities. In 1965 she became a Physical Education instructor in addition to her responsibilities as a choreographer.

Alice Gates' involvement with Orchesis diminished when health problems forced her to take leave in 1967-68. She retired in 1972 and died in the spring of 1973. That year Orchesis established the Alice Gates Award for excellence and achievement in dance.

Alice Gates and Wilhelmina O. Sarai-Clark (Toni Weaver) each devoted more than twenty years of their lives to dance at WSU. Wilhelmina Sarai-Clark came to WSU as an instructor in 1965, though she had been a choreographer and performer with Orchesis since 1960. Before coming to WSU, Ms. Sarai-Clark had been an associate professor of physical education at Florida A and M; University in Tallahassee. She obtained her B.A. in Physical Education at Howard University, an M.A. at New York University and a Ph.D. in Dance, Anthropology, and Theatre at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In the early 1950s, she danced with the Charles Weidman Dance Company.

Under her supervision, members took a more active role in choreographing Orchesis performances. She encouraged community interaction with Orchesis and forged a strong link between Orchesis and the St. James Episcopal Church. Orchesis choreographed many performances for the church, most often liturgical dances and holiday celebrations.

Many members of Orchesis went on to pursue careers in dance. Dick Lee, one of the male dancers that entered Orchesis in the 1940s, obtained dance scholarships to Bennington College in the 1950s. Other dancers joined professional dance groups such as Jacob's Pillow and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company. Another Orchesis member, Gwen Barker, danced in New York for several years before joining the Ballet Russe in the mid-1950s.

Orchesis Advisors
1919 Ruth Finch, Dance
1923 Genevieve Barber, Leota Scott
1924 Eva Pletch (Jurgensohn?)
1925 Beatrice Branden / Gen Barber
1926 Erica Mather / Helen Smith
1929 Carrie Brown Lois Carrell / Norma Anderson
1942 Faye Knox / Mildred Hensley
1944 Ruth Radir
1946 Alice A. Gates
1965 Alice A. Gates, Toni Weaver (Wilhelmina Clark)
1972 Toni Weaver (Wilhelmina O. Sarai-Clark)
1992 Retirement, Wilhelmina O. Sarai-Clark
1992 Orchesis inactive

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Scope and Contents note

Orchesis records are predominantly concerned with dance productions. These records consist of notes, programs, photographs, and so forth. The records also include business and financial papers.

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Arrangement note

The records are arranged in twelve series and thereunder chronologically or alphabetically within each series. The first eight series concern Orchesis dance productions. They are in an alphabetical sequence. The ninth series, Financial Records, stands outside this alphabetization. It also serves as the division between paper records and photographic and video records.

Series one consists of advisor notes for the period 1960-1963 and focuses mainly on production responsibilities and corresponding Orchesis member activities. Series two, Choreography and Costumes, contains program notes and sketches for the period 1929 through 1992. The Choreography notes are arranged alphabetically by title and the costume notes are arranged chronologically. Items of interest include watercolor costume sketches from the early 1920s and 1930s. Series three, Dance, is arranged alphabetically by folder title and thereunder chronologically. Folder 37 of this series contains a nearly complete run of program flyers from the 1940s through 1992. Series four, Membership, is arranged chronologically. It contains membership lists, notes, tryout sheets and performance plans for the period 1930-1991. One item of particular interest is the Orchesis Pledge Book for this period which contains the signatures of Orchesis members for every semester the group was active. Series 5, Music, is arranged alphabetically by folder title. It contains sheet music from the 1930s and lists of music resources for dance. Series six, Performance and Production, contains notes for the period 1950 through the 1970s. Included are stage directions, lighting and prop arrangements, dance number sequencing and news releases. The series is arranged chronologically by performance date. Series seven, Programs, contains some choreography as well as planning and supply notes for specific program recitals for the period 1945 through 1963, and a program note file for the program, Yesterday Today and Tomorrow, (1992). Series Eight, Physical Education Files, contains administrative records for Orchesis. Included are rehearsal schedules, lectures, workshop programs and Toni Weaver's Master's Thesis and vita. It is arranged alphabetically by folder title. Series Nine, Financial Records, serves to divide the paper files from the photographs. It contains some of the Orchesis records for the period 1946-1983. It is arranged alphabetically by folder title from bills paid to WSU Accounts. Series Ten, Photographs and Scrapbooks, contains photographs from the period 1914 through 1984. Items of special interest include early photos of WSU dancers dating to 1914, photos of Alice Gates from 1911 to about 1960, and late 1970s photographs of Wilhelmina O. Sarai-Clark (Toni Weaver). Photographs have been arranged chronologically, although exact dates for each photograph were not available. A reasonable attempt has been made to ascertain the dates for the photographs. When no date was available photographs were matched to recital program descriptions and scrapbook entries in order to come as close as possible to the original date. Series Eleven, Video and Audio Tapes, contains six video cassettes of Orchesis, including the final performance of  Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, in April of 1992, and audiocassettes of interviews with Jane Ericson (a member of the Physical Education department active in Orchesis) and Wilhemina Sarai-Clark from 1994-1995. Series Twelve, Oversize Materials, contains flyers, sheet music, news articles and costume sketches for the period 1927-1990. The series is arranged in two oversize folders by the size of the item. Artifacts of interest include the handtooled leather scrapbook cover for Orchesis during 1927-1941; Hilltopics and Evergreen articles on the group ca. 1971-1980; and several "Ballad of Americana" costume sketches and watercolors from 1941.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 1992

http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/masc
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610
509-335-6691
mascref@wsu.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The Washington State University Libraries obtained the records of Orchesis, the Washington State University dance honorary, in spring 1992 through the advisor to the group, Wilhelmina O. Sarai-Clark, who was then leaving the university for retirement. The records had been maintained by the Department of Physical Education for Women. The records were accessioned as MS92-37 and MS92-38.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Orchesis --Archives

Personal Name(s)

  • Gates, Alice
  • Sarai-Clark, Wilhelmina

Subject(s)

  • Colleges and Universities
  • Performing Arts
  • Washington (State)

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Advisor Notes 

Box Folder

Advisor Notes 1960-1961 

1 1

Advisor Notes 1961-1962 

1 2

Advisor Notes 1962-1963 

1 3

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Series 2: Choreography and Costumes 

Box Folder

African 

1 4

Benediction 

1 5

Brandenburg Concertos 

1 6

Cake Walk 

1 7

Carnival 

1 8

Friends Dancing 

1 9

Gloria 

1 10

Information Sheets 

1 11

---l(?) My Soul 

1 12

Lord Where You Brought Me From 

1 13

Resta Con Noi 

1 14

Swords of Moda Ling 

1 15

Telemann [ To Dance is to Live] 

1 16

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 

1 17

Costumes 

Box Folder

sketches 1929-1941 

1 18

Recitals 1947-1948 

1 19

Spring Recital 1950 

1 20

Spring Recital 1951 

1 21
Box Folder

Spring, Little Prince sketches 1951 

1 22

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Series 3: Dance 

Box Folder

Dance Articles, misc. publications 1940-1970 

2 23

Dance Drawings, pastels and watercolors 1924-1935 

2 24

Dance International, booklet 1937 

2 25

Memorial, Alice Gates 1973 

2 26

Notebooks, #1 1932-1939 

2 27

Notebooks, #2 & #3 1930-1940 

2 28

Perry Mansfield Summer School of Dance and Drama, brochure 1936 

2 29

Resources, Records, books and suppliers 1925 

2 30

Dance Symposium, Portland 1948 

2 31

Symposium, Gertrude Lippencott 1962 

2 32

Symposium 1966 

2 33

Symposium, WSU 1970 

2 34

Dance Tour: Spring 1963 

2 35

December Fine Arts Recital 1972 

2 36

Flyers 1968-1990 

2 37

Folk Dances: Music and choreography for PE 20 1923 

2 38

Garfield High School 

Box Folder

Americana 1937 

2 39

Americana drawings 

2 40

Romeo & Juliet, 1938 

2 41
Box Folder

Martha Graham dance articles 1932-1964 

3 42

Dance Journal Articles 1946-1965 

3 43

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Series 4: Membership 

Box Folder

Pledge Book 1930-1991 

3 44

Constitution 1956 

3 45

History 

3 46

 1941-1945 

3 46

 1949-1950 

3 48

 1950-1951 

3 49

 1951-1952 

3 50

 1952-1953 

3 51

 1953-1954 

4 52

 1954-1955 

4 53

 1956 

4 54

Inactive 1957 

4 55

Junior Orchesis 1958 

4 56

Orchesis and Jr. Orchesis 1958-1959 

4 57

 1958-1962 

4 58

 1959-1960 

4 59

Jr. Orchesis 1960-1961 

5 60

 1962-1965 

5 61

 1963-1964 

5 62

 1964 

5 63

 1964-1965 

5 64

membership lists 1967-1980 

5 65

 1990-1991 

5 66

Miscellaneous 1948 1961 undated 

5 67

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Series 5: Music 

Box Folder

Accompaniments for Modern Dance 1935 

6 68

Bibliography of Dance Books 1929-1941 

6 69

Correctives in Dance Form 1931 

6 70

Notebooks and Notes 1951 

6 71

Nadja Conference program 1925 

6 72

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Series 6: Performance and Production 

Box Folder

News Articles 1950-1999 

6 73

News Releases 1966-1979 

6 74

The World Around Me 1955 

6 75

The Dark of the Moon 1955 

6 76

The Pace, the Race, the Space 1958-1959 

6 77

In and Out 1961 

6 78

Christmas Recitals 1963-1964 

6 79

Friel Art Show 1973 

6 80

Armistad II 1977 

6 81

Ministry Through Performing Arts 1990 

6 82

Performance Programs 1943-1992 

6 83

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Series 7: Programs 

Box Folder

 Spring 1945 

7 84

 Spring 1948a 

7 85

 Spring 1948b 

7 86

 Christmas 1948 May 1949 

7 87

 Spring 1949 

7 88

The Little Prince Spring 1951 

7 89

Dance Sketches a Spring 1952 

8 90

Dance Sketches b Spring 1952 

8 91

Dance Sketches c Spring 1952 

8 92

A Few Things About the World 1952-1953 

8 93

Notes 1953-1954 

8 94

Spring King David, Fall,  Bus Stop 1959 

8 95

December Recital w/photos 1959 

8 96

December Recital 1963 

8 97

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow 1992 

8 98

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Series 8: Physical Education Records 

Box Folder

Rehearsal Schedule Sheets 

9 99

Russian Ballet 

9 100

Stretching Lecture-demonstration 1974 

9 101

Vitae, Wilhelmina O. Sarai-Clark 1985 

9 102

Masters Thesis, Toni Weaver (Wilhelmina O. Sarai-Clark) 

9 103

Workshop Program 1954 

9 104

Rhythmic Gymnastics (bound typescript by Toni Weaver) 

9 105

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Series 9: Financial Records 

Box Folder

Bills Paid 1965-1980 

10 106

Budget Statements, WSU 1972-1980 

10 107

Business Activities 1947-1948 

10 108

Business Correspondence 1946-1947 

10 109

Finances 

Box Folder

 Spring 1946 

10 110

 Spring 1947 

10 111

 Spring 1949 

10 112

recital 1951 

10 113
Box Folder

Financial Report 1963 

10 114

Treasurer's Receipt Books 

10 115

WSU Accounts 1979-1983 

10 116

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Series 10: Photographs and Scrapbooks 

Box Folder

May Fete 1914 

11 117

May Fete, Vera Plath 1929 

11 117

Butterflies 1920-1929 

11 117

Orchesis group, WSC Campus 1930-1939 

11 118

Garfield High School, Americana, (Eva Jurgensohn) 1937 

11 119

Dancers, unknown location 1930-1939 

11 120

Orchesis dancers, WSC location 1930-1939 

11 121

Orchesis dancers, unknown location 1940-1949 

11 121

Recitals 1946-1947 

11 122

Recitals, Eleanor Jacobsen central figure 1947-1948 

11 123

Christmas Recitals undated 

11 124

Recital 1948 

11 125

Recital 1949 

11 126

Alice Gates 1911-1960 

11 127

Orchesis 1950-1959 

12 128

Little Prince 1951 

12 129

The World Around Me 1955 

12 130

Recital Publicity Photos 1955-1956 

12 131

Jr. Orchesis Recital 1957 

12 132

The Pace, the Race, the Space 1958-1959 

12 133

Rehearsal photos 1960-1969 

12 134

In and Out 1961 

12 135

The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore 1962 

12 135

Christmas Recitals 1963-1964 

12 136

Topsy Turvey Land and the Renaissance Conference. 1967 

12 137

To Dance is to Live, and  Alice in Topsy Turvey Land 1967-1968 

12 138

Orchesis at Simon Frazer University 1967 

12 139

Assorted Orchesis Photographs 1970-1979 

12 140

126 format color Orchesis snapshots, St. James Episcopal 1975 

12 141

Wilhelmina Sarai Clark and Pat Littlewood, w/negative 

12 142

Assorted Photographs. 1970-1992 

12 143

Alice Gates Award Winners 1973 1976 1978-1980 

12 144

Contact Prints and Negatives 1984 

12 145

Children dancing, (Alice Gates Project?) undated 

12 146

 1927-1941 

13 147

 1943-1948 

13 148

 1949-1951 

13 149

 1951-1956 

13 150

 1956-1962 

13 151

Color Slides 1983 

13 152

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Series 11: Video and Audio Tapes 

Box

#1: Language of dance, 20 min. 5/27/1977 

14

#2: Final Exam, Spring 1980 

14

#3: The Creation, 30min. undated 

14

#4: Dance Images, undated 

14

#5: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, May, 1992 

14

#6: Performing Dance Styles and Sources, undated 

14
Box item

Interview of Wilhelmina Sarai-Clark by Andrea Sabo Hartley 12 October 1994   1.0 cassette.

15 1

Interview of Jane Ericson by Andrea Sabo Hartley 14 December 1995   2.0 cassettes.

15 2
Box

Series 12: Oversize Items 

oversize

Orchesis Scrapbook Cover-Handtooled Leather 1927 

oversize

Mounted Sheet Music, 3pp. 1930 

oversize

Orchesis Flyer 1963 

oversize

Handpainted Flyer 1962-1963 

oversize

Sheet Music, "On the Banks of the Zuyder Zee 

oversize

Autographed Harold Kreutzberg Program undated 

oversize

WSU Hill Topics 1976 

oversize

WSU Rolling Hills 1979 

oversize

WSU Hill Topics 1979 

oversize

Evergreen 1983 

oversize

Centennial Gala Article 1990 

oversize

New York Times Dance Articles 1940-1945 

oversize

Ballad for Americana, 16 costume sketches 1941 

oversize

To Dance is Human, flyer 1980 

oversize

The People, Yes, flyer 1952 

oversize

Spokesman Review Panorama Musicale, 1953 

oversize

Washington Territorial Centennial 

oversize

New York Times Magazine Articles 

oversize

Ballad for Americana, costume sketches (26) 

oversize

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