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Jan Van Dyke papers

Identifier: MS2111-UA

Collection Scope and Content

The Jan Van Dyke Collection documents the professional dance career of Jan Van Dyke, including performance files, correspondence, photographs, articles, audio-visual material, and publicity materials from the late 1960s to the 2000s.

The Jan Van Dyke Collection is part of the Dance Archives of the Greater Washington Region. The Archives was established in 1993 by Nancy Diers Johnson, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Dance, and the Gelman Library of The George Washington University. The Dance Archives of the Greater Washington Region collects, preserves and makes accessible the documentary heritage of all forms and types of dance.


  • 1964-2005


Restrictions on Access

Some records may be restricted.

Restrictions on Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical Note

Jan Van Dyke (1941- ) is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher who was active in the dance community in Washington, D.C. in the years after her graduation from The George Washington University with an M.A. in dance education in 1967. That year, she founded the Georgetown Workshop dance studio with John Gamble. In 1970, she left Washington, D.C. for New York, where she studied with Merce Cunningham and at the Martha Graham and Alwin Nikolais schools. In 1972, she returned to Washington, D.C. and established her own dance studio, Dance Place, in Adams Morgan, which became the leader in modern dance training and performance in D.C. Van Dyke toured extensively throughout the United States with her dance company, Jan Van Dyke and Dancers, and as a solo artist. In 1980, she was honored by the Metropolitan Dance Association at their First Annual Dance Awards for her work and commitment to dance in the D.C. area. Later that year Van Dyke and four dancers from her company once again left DC for New York. She returned periodically to perform as a visiting artist and to help choreograph a production of the National Ballet.

Van Dyke and her dancers moved to San Francisco in 1982, where she was part of the faculty at the Footwork Studio. After three years in San Francisco, Van Dyke disbanded Jan Van Dyke and Dancers and moved to London for a teaching position at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance. In the late 1980s, Van Dyke enrolled in the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and was awarded an in Ed.D. in Curriculum and Educational Foundations in 1989.

Over the span of her career, Jan Van Dyke has taught and performed throughout the United States and in various European countries, including Italy and Portugal. She is now an assistant professor in the dance department at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, where she teaches courses in technique, choreography, repertory and dance administration. In 1993, she published Modern Dance in a Postmodern World: An Analysis of Federal Arts Funding and Its Impact on the Field of Modern Dance. Van Dyke and John Gamble have reunited and formed John Gamble/Jan Van Dyke Dance Company. She is also involved with the organization of the annual North Carolina Dance Festival. Her work has received grants from the DC Council for the Arts and Humanities, the California Council for the Arts, and the National Endowments for the Arts.


7 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Collection documents the professional dance career of Jan Van Dyke, including performance files, correspondence, photographs, articles, audio-visual material, and publicity materials from the late 1960s to the 2000s.

Collection Organization

Organized in four series: Administrative files and photographs; Clippings, advertisements, articles, and audio-visual materials; Audio-visual materials, clippings, correspondence, programs and promotional materials; and Programs, brochures and articles.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated between 1999-2002 by Jan Van Dyke.

Explanation for folder titles derived by staff

This collection was part of a legacy folder title creation projection in the early 2000s. The following is an example.

Example: Jan Van Dyke collection, folder title Performance Files: Marvin Center, George Washington University, Washington, DC, the portion of the title before the colon “Performance Files” came from a subseries in this collection that was eliminated as an organizational level. The former subseries title “Performance Files” was added to the original folder title by staff. For this example, the titles for the folders 1-21 in box 1 all have the “Performance Files” prefix. One important clue in determining if the folder title contains the former subseries title is to look for the colon after the word or words that are repeated for numerous folders. It is the portion of the folder title before the colon that is derived from staff and not the creator of the archival materials.

The explanation:

In 2004, Special Collections transitioned our collection management system from paper finding aids in our reading room to an automated system. This system, Re:Discovery, was designed for use in museums and lacked the capability to fully utilize all hierarchical levels in an archival collection (i.e. collection, series, subseries, folder, item). The Director of Special Collections made the decision to remove subseries from most collections and effectively collapse one level of hierarchy. In order to retain the description afforded by the subseries the title of the subseries was added as a prefix to each folder title that had been in that subseries.

Guide to the Jan Van Dyke papers, 1964-2005
Partially Processed
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America