The 92nd Street Y has been DEL’s home for over 22 years. Read about its rich history in the arts and dance education.
Harkness Dance Center History
Founded in 1935, the Harkness Dance Center (part of the 92Y school of the arts) has been dedicated to promoting the art of dance through a twofold commitment: facilitating the rehearsal, creation and performance of new choreography and providing classes taught by dedicated, experienced professionals for people of all levels of experience. The original faculty included Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Anna Sokolow and Hanya Holm. The center was named the Harkness Dance Center in 1994 with a generous gift from the Harkness Foundation for Dance.
Dance Education at 92Y
92Y has always been a leading institution for pioneers in dance education. In 1952, Doris Humphrey, Bonnie Bird, and Fred Berk founded the Merry-Go-Rounders, a company whose mission was to educate people about dance and to create a future public for the performing arts. Through carefully designed scenarios, children learned about the various elements of movement in an entertaining and joyful way that involved active participation by gesturing, responding, and vocalizing while viewing dance. Over the years the Y has continued to be a major innovator in the field of children’s dance instruction. In the 50s Ann Hutchinson Guest used Laban symbols in her work with children and Lucile Brahms Nathanson created the division of Teacher Training in Children’s Dance, designed to prepare the trained dancer and others for teaching dance to children. Today DEL continues the work and legacy.
Photo: Ann Hutchinson Guest first exploring dance literacy with young dancers at 92Y. Courtesy of Dance Notation Bureau.