William Dollar (1907-1986) was an American ballet dancer, choreographer, and ballet master associated with numerous American companies for more than 30 years. Yvonne Patterson, (1910-2010) was an original Balanchine ballerina and dance teacher. The Yvonne Patterson and William Dollar papers document their work as dancers, educators, and choreographers.
Biographical/historical: Yvonne Patterson, (1910-2010) was an original Balanchine ballerina and dance teacher. She was born in Melbourne, Australia. Her father, Ambrose Patterson, was a celebrated painter who exhibited alongside Matisse in the 1905 First Salon d'Automne. After moving his family to the United States, he established the Department of Art History and Design at the University of Washington, Seattle. Patterson had dance lessons as a child in Hawaii and California, and moved New York City in her teens to join the Radio City Ballet.
Patterson was in the first class of dancers accepted to the School of American Ballet when George Balanchine arrived in the United States in the mid-1930s. She worked with the famed choreographer for most of her career. Patterson and Dollar met while dancing for Balanchine, and both performed in the debut of his ballet "Serenade" in 1934. During her career, she performed with the Ballet Russe, Le Grand Ballet du Monte Carlo, Ballet Caravan, Ballet International, and many other companies.
In the 1950s, she retired from performance and taught dance with Dollar, working with dance companies in Brazil and Japan, and founding a national ballet company in Iran before moving to Philadelphia. After Dollar's death in 1986, she assisted regional companies with recreations of Dollar's choreography.
Patterson continued to teach dance at the Rock School of Ballet in Philadelphia until she was 95 years old.
William Dollar (1907-1986) was an American ballet dancer, choreographer, and ballet master associated with numerous American companies for more than 30 years. Dollar received his training in the United States, studying under George Balanchine and Michel Fokine and with Mikhail Mordkin and Pierre Vladimiroff, both formerly star dancers in Russia. Dollar was a leading dancer with the American Ballet (1936–37), Ballet Caravan (1936–38), and the American Ballet Caravan (1941)—predecessors of the New York City Ballet, which was established in 1948. Dollar and Patterson were among the artists who toured South America in 1941 with Ballet Caravan – premiering American ballets throughout the continent under Balanchine.
Dollar went on to choreograph many ballets, starting with Classic Ballet (later known as Constantia) in 1944. His best known composition is Le Combat, or The Duel. This piece was first staged in performed in London by Les Ballets de Paris and continues to be performed today, all over the world. Other pieces by Dollar include Jeux, Concerto, Five Gifts, and The Lady of the Camellias.
Content: The Yvonne Patterson and William Dollar papers document their work as dancers, educators, and choreographers. The papers consist of material from various ballet companies where one or both of the couple was engaged, choreography, correspondence, subject files (which include a manuscript by Dollar and personal and professional photographs) and teaching materials. While much of the material is related to Dollar's work as a choreographer, Patterson was not only his wife, but his life long collaborator. Her hand can be seen in many of his documents.