As of Tuesday, September 8, The New York Public Library has expanded grab-and-go service to 50 branch locations as part of our gradual reopening. We hope to reopen even more locations soon. Find details about locations, services, and requirements, and learn more about accessing our remote resources.

Error when loading audio.

Interview with Peggy van Praagh, 1978

More Details Cite This Item

Library division & collection with this item:

View this item elsewhere:

Interview with Peggy van Praagh, 1978
Van Praagh, Peggy (Interviewee)
Dale, Margaret, 1922-2010 (Interviewer)

Dance Oral History Project

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1978-10-09 - 1978-11-01
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZTCO 3-554
De Valois, Ninette, 1898-2001
Ashton, Frederick, 1904-1988
Rambert, Marie
Tudor, Antony, 1908-1987
De Mille, Agnes
Van Praagh, Peggy -- Interviews
London Ballet
Ballet Rambert
Ballet Club
Camargo Ballet Society
Sadler's Wells Ballet
Australian Ballet
Quest (Choreographic work : Ashton)
Dark elegies (Choreographic work : Tudor)
World War, 1939-1945 -- Dance and the war
Ballet -- Australia
Oral histories
Additional physical form: For transcript of interview, see *MGZMT 3-554.
Bibliographic history: Title supplied by cataloger.
Source characteristics: Sound quality is fair to poor in streaming audio file 1 as the speakers' voices are soft and often difficult to understand. Sound quality is good overall in streaming files 2 - 4; the voices are loud and easy to understand. However, the recording is marred by "tape hiss".
Venue: Recorded by Margaret Dale for the Jerome Robbins Dance Division Oral History Project 1978, October 9 and November 1 Melbourne and Sydney, Australia
Funding: The conservation and cataloging of this recording was made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The support of the National Endowment for the Arts is also gratefully acknowledged.
Physical Description
Extent: 2 audio cassettes (approximately 2 hr., 3 min.); quarter-track; 1.875 ip
Streaming audio file 1 (approximately 47 minutes). October 9, 1978. [Begins abruptly.] Peggy van Praagh speaks with Margaret Dale about the London Ballet in particular, the reasons for its dissolution in 1941; performing in London during World War II; the transfer of the London Ballet's productions to Ballet Rambert; joining the Sadler's Wells Ballet; her time at the company including her impressions of Ninette de Valois and teaching company class; De Valois's work Promenade; De Valois's choreographic process including compared with that of Frederick Ashton and of Antony Tudor; the repertoire including its gradual thinning during the war due to the scarcity of male dancers; Frederick Ashton's work The quest; her time at the newly-formed Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet [initially, the Sadler's Wells Opera Ballet] including her work as ballet mistress; De Valois's use of the company as a bridge between the ballet school and Sadler's Wells Ballet [ends abruptly].Streaming audio file 2 (approximately 43 minutes ). Sydney, November 1, 1978. Peggy van Praagh speaks with Margaret Dale about her early training and career including her (unsuccessful) audition with Anna Pavlova and dancing in a music hall with Anton Dolin; the Ballet Club (later Ballet Rambert) and the Camargo Ballet Society; her impressions of Antony Tudor; the nature of their audience; Tudor's ballet Lilac garden [Jardin aux lilas]; Marie Rambert including anecdotes about her volatile nature; Tudor's ballet Dark elegies including its genesis in the massacre at Guernica, Spain; Tudor's and Agnes de Mille's influence on each other's work; De Mille's strong attachment to her American roots; the impact of Dark elegies on audiences during World War II; her much closer relationship at the time with Tudor compared to that with Ninette de Valois and Frederick Ashton; the beginnings of the London Ballet, initially with a tour led by Tudor and De Mille; Tudor's leaving England to work with Ballet Theatre [now American Ballet Theatre] in the United States; her feeling of devastation upon Margaret Craske's departure to India.Streaming audio file 3 (approximately 7 minutes ). Peggy van Praagh speaks with Margaret Dale about her first impressions of Ninette de Valois and of Frederick Ashton; performing in his Mephisto valse; Antony Tudor and his role in her cultural education [ends abruptly].Streaming audio file 4 (approximately 26 minutes ). Peggy van Praagh speaks with Margaret Dale about her time in Australia (1960 - present, with a break in 1961) beginning with her taking over of the direction of the Borovansky Ballet in 1960; J.C. Williamson Ltd, the commercial company that dominated theater in Australia at the time; the formation of the Australian Ballet with a subsidy from the government, in 1962; the gradual rise in the company's standards; the challenge of finding dancers, orchestras, and choreographers; the annual ballet festival; Robert Helpmann's ballet Display, created for the company.
Type of Resource
Sound recording
RLIN/OCLC: 80636328
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b12118360
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 48a92eb0-c27a-0135-2986-011a63f11ae9
Rights Statement
The New York Public Library holds or manages the copyright(s) in this item. If you need information about reusing this item, please go to:

Item timeline of events

  • 1978: Created (Approximate)
  • 2017: Digitized
  • 2020: Found by you!
  • 2021

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Peggy van Praagh, 1978" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1978 - 1978.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Peggy van Praagh, 1978" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed September 28, 2020.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (1978 - 1978). Interview with Peggy van Praagh, 1978 Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (sound recording) Interview with Peggy van Praagh, 1978, (1978 - 1978)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=September 28, 2020 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Interview with Peggy van Praagh, 1978