Interview with Rebekah Harkness, and, Interview with Ali Pourfarrokh, 1979Additional title: Interview with Ali Pourfarookh, 1979
NamesHarkness, Rebekah West, -1982 (Interviewee)Pourfarrokh, Ali (Interviewee)Alejandro, Reynaldo G (Interviewer)
Dance Audio Archive
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1979-01-23 - 1979-02-15
Library locationsJerome Robbins Dance DivisionShelf locator: *MGZTCO 3-1816
TopicsHarkness, Rebekah West, -1982Pourfarrokh, AliHarkness Foundation for DanceHarkness Ballet SchoolJoffrey BalletHarkness Ballet
NotesContent: Title supplied by cataloger.Venue: Recorded by Reynaldo C. Alejandro 1979 New York (N.Y.)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.Content: Streaming audio file 1, January 23, 1979 (approximately 48 minutes). Rebekah Harkness speaks with Reynaldo G. Alejandro about her family background; her first exposure to dance including her ballet lessons; her various athletic activities; her study of music; her parents; her first marriage [to Charles Dickson Pierce]; her rebellious youth and travels; her service as a nurses' aide during World War II; her interest in commissioning a ballet on ice skates; studying yoga with Blanche DeVries; more on her life in St. Louis (Miss.) including her [social] debut; managing a ranch in Arizona, at age 19, with her brother; more on her rebellious youth; more on her first marriage, and divorce; anecdotes about her adult life in St. Louis [ends abruptly but continues on streaming file 2].Content: Streaming audio file 2, January 23, 1979 (approximately 36 minutes). Rebekah Harkness speaks with Reynaldo G. Alejandro about her life in St. Louis (Miss.) as a young adult including anecdotes about her various escapades and travels with her brother; dancing in a production of Aida [with the Chicago Lyric Opera] in St. Louis (Miss.); more on her family and childhood; leaving her first husband and starting over, in New York City.Content: Streaming audio file 3, January 27, 1979 (approximately 48 minutes). Rebekah Harkness speaks with Reynaldo G. Alejandro about studying music in New York after leaving her first husband; traveling with her family, including in Japan; her life with William Harkness; the principles behind her philanthropy; her third marriage, to Benjamin Kean, and their trip to western Africa; her hospitality to visiting ballet companies; the Joffrey Ballet including her relationship with the company and Robert Joffrey; how she would like to support dance and choreographers; Nikita Talin; training boys at her school [Harkness Ballet School]; Brian McDonald [short gap at approximately 42:00]; repertory she thinks appropriate for a ballet company; Benjamin Harkarvy; Larry [Lawrence] Rhodes; Ben Stevenson [ends abruptly but continues on streaming file 4].Content: Streaming audio file 4, January 27, 1979 (approximately 48 minutes). Rebekah Harkness speaks with Reynaldo G. Alejandro about choreographers and dancers who worked with her company [Harkness Ballet]; her thoughts on the Harkness Theater and why it was not a success; her study of conducting; her marriage and divorce from Niels Lauersen; her houses, including her house in Nassau (Bahamas) and the longtime caretaker; her friends and family [ends abruptly].Content: Streaming audio file 5, February 11, 1979 (approximately 48 minutes). Rebekah Harkness speaks with Reynaldo G. Alejandro about her search for a creative outlet when she was young; more on her family and childhood; her marriage to William Harkness and his encouraging of her to learn; their travels including their meeting Haile Selassie in Ethiopia; more on her interest in dance since an early age and her study of music; her sculpture and her musical compositions; her current state of mind; the school [Harkness Ballet School]; the Harkness Ballet Foundation and the outdoor summer dance festival at the Delacorte Theatre [ends abruptly but continues on streaming file 6].Content: Streaming audio file 6, February 11, 1979 (approximately 23 minutes). Rebekah Harkness speaks with Reynaldo G. Alejandro about the Harkness Foundation for Dance and her support of dance; Ali Pourfarrokh; anecdotes about some former students; cataloging her musical compositions [ends abruptly].Content: Streaming audio file 7, February 15, 1979 (approximately 21 minutes). Ali Pourfarrokh speaks with Reynaldo C. Alejandro about his time with the Harkness Ballet; the teachers; the repertoire and its mix of modern and classical ballet; the creative ferment the company engendered and its lasting influence on former members; briefly, the Iranian National Ballet; Madeleine [M.] Nichols.
Physical DescriptionAudiocassetteExtent: 4 audiocassettes (approximately 4 hr., 32 min)Sound quality is good overall. The recording is marred by occasional extraneous noise including "tape hiss".
DescriptionInterview with Rebekah Harkness conducted by Reynaldo G. Alejandro on January 23 and 27 and February 11, 1979 in New York (N.Y.); and interview with Ali Pourfarrokh conducted by Reynaldo C. Alejandro on February 15, 1979. In the first part of the interview with Harkness (streaming audio files 1 and 2), a second man (Nikita Talin?) enters and contributes to the conversation.
Type of ResourceSound recording
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 45064114NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b14757736Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): d6189190-c314-0133-fa27-60f81dd2b63c
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