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New website chronicles Lincoln Kirstein’s life and work

Posted on November 25, 2010

The Eakins Press Foundation and Ballet Society Inc. have just published the website lincolnkirstein.org to serve as the definitive and comprehensive resource for information about Lincoln Kirstein’s life and work.

Kirstein, who co-founded the School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet with George Balanchine, and wrote prolifically about dance, drama, politics, arts, and culture, is one of the most significant 20th century voices on the arts in America. The website will preserve his legacy by making his work accessible to future generations.

The site is divided into biography and bibliography sections. Under About Lincoln Kirstein, visitors find a detailed timeline chronicling significant moments and experiences in Kirstein’s life from 1907 to 1996. Information about his educational and social background gives important context to his written perspectives. Interesting tidbits, from his stint in a stained glass-making shop to winning a prize for freehand drawing at Harvard, create a detailed and individual picture of Kirstein the person, as well as academic.

The searchable electronic Bibliography section includes a comprehensive listing of all publications of Kirstein’s writings, including the entirety of information found in the print version Lincoln Kirstein: A Bibliography of Published Writings, 1922-1996. The e-bibliography may be browsed for a particular title, or within numerous subcategories of creative and nonfiction work including “fiction”, “drama, and libretti”, “on dance”, and “On Literature, History, Politics and Other Subjects.” The sheer scope of the collection, including 734 individual entries, and ten subject categories, demonstrates Kirstein’s prolific versatility and wide-ranging interests.

Additional resources include essays by scholars Leslie George Katz, Harvey Simmonds, Nancy Lassalle and Louis H. Silverstein, and a “Resources” page of links to significant cultural institutions for further information about Kirstein’s achievements and legacy. The site hopes to “evolve and expand with the changing technologies” that eventually will host the entirety of his writings in full, web-readable format.

Jonathan Gray is editor of Dancing Times. He studied at The Royal Ballet School, Leicester Polytechnic, and Wimbledon School of Art where he graduated with a BA Hons in Theatre Design. For 16 years he was a member of the curatorial department of the Theatre Museum, London, assisting on a number of dance-related exhibitions, and helping with the recreation of original designs for a number of The Royal Ballet’s productions including Danses concertantes, Daphnis and Chloë, and The Sleeping Beauty. He has also contributed to the Financial Times, written programme articles for The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet, and is co-author of the book Unleashing Britain: Theatre gets real 1955-64, published in 2005.

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