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Dayton Ballet Company Records

Identifier: MS-48

Scope and Content

When researching this collection, it is useful to know the following distinct groups and their interrelated activities: the Dayton Ballet School, (formerly the Schwarz School of the Dance, then renamed the Dayton Ballet Dance Center), is the official school for the Dayton Ballet Company. The Dayton Ballet First Company is a professional performing group of approximately 15 dancers. Dayton Ballet II is the apprentice/training company for the first company. Both companies are supported and promoted by The Dayton Ballet Association. The Dayton Ballet Association is a non-profit corporation which maintains a staff, a rehearsal hall, and an office for company classes, rehearsals, business and meetings. The Friends of the Dayton Ballet is the volunteer service arm of the Dayton Ballet Association and fulfills various company needs as they arise.

The records within the Dayton Ballet Company collection are divided into five series, I: Early Dance Companies and Support Groups, II: Schwarz School of the Dance, III: Dayton Ballet Dance Center, IV: Dayton Ballet School, and V: Dayton Civic Ballet/Dayton Ballet Company. Each series is further organized into subseries. The basic arrangement within each subseries is chronological, except for the performance photographs, which for the most part are stored in alphabetical order by the name of the ballet performed.

Series I, Early Dance Companies and Support Groups, spans 1938-1960, and falls into five subseries. Subseries I-A, Dayton Theater Dance Group contains, organizational papers, a constitution, scattered annual reports, audition records, financial records, performance programs, and correspondence.

Subseries I-B, Children’s Ballet Company, consists solely of financial records of the company from 1955.

In 1957 the Dayton Theater Dance Group and the Children's Ballet Company merged to form the Dayton Ballet Theater. Subseries I-C, Dayton Ballet Theater, contains administrative and financial records as well as some correspondence and performance programs of the merged organization dating 1956-1958.

Subseries I-D, Dayton Ballet Society, 1953, contains scattered records of the dance appreciation group organized to support the Dayton Theater Dance Group and the Children's Ballet Company. Included is a constitution for the organization and several bulletins. All records in this subseries are from the year 1953.

Subseries I-E, Dayton Dance Guild, consists of lecture demonstration programs, scattered minutes, and miscellaneous papers of the Dayton Dance Guild, another community support group for the early dance companies. Records in this subseries date from 1945 1958.

Series II, Schwarz School of the Dance, is organized by record type into four subseries. Subseries II-A Administrative Records, 1933-1987, contains some advertising brochures, school announcements, scattered correspondence, and information about a recently formed alumni association. Subseries II-B, Performance Records, 1933-1979, contains the recital bulletins and programs. Subseries II-C, Costume Designs, is a small subseries of costume designs spanning 1945-1965. Subseries II-D, Photographs, contains photographs of ballet performances and students and staff spanning 1927 1963. Also see Series V-E Photographs and Slides, which include photos from the Schwarz School of Dance which were enlarged and used for displays in later years.

Series III, Dayton Ballet Dance Center, 1984-1987 and Series IV, Dayton Ballet School, have only one subseries each containing administrative records. These series contain miscellaneous materials from both the Dayton Ballet Dance Center and Dayton Ballet School, and date from the 1980s.

Series V, Dayton Civic Ballet/Dayton Ballet Company, 1907-1998, comprises the majority of the collection. Most of the records in this series begin in 1958, when the Dayton Ballet Theater and its support group combined and incorporated as the Dayton Civic Ballet, although there are some earlier records included because of their provenance. Series V is divided into thirteen subseries. Subseries V-A consists of administrative records, including constitutions, bylaws, minutes of the Board of Directors' meetings, Board of Directors' correspondence, annual reports, newsletters, membership lists, and contractual agreements. Records in this subseries cover the years 1958 1990.

Subseries V-B, Financial Records, include budgets and financial reports for the years 1958 1985, company inventories for 1966 1979, information on scholarships, and a file containing several grant proposals written to the Ohio Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and various local corporate foundations. Span dates for this subseries are 1956 1988.

Subseries V-C, Performance Records, contains an extensive collection of performance programs. In addition, the subseries has correspondence and planning information for special performances and lecture/demonstration programs, also repertoire and booking data, company audition records, and correspondence and negotiations with various guest artists and choreographers who have worked with the Dayton Ballet over the years. There is much information on the amount of work and preparation that goes into a performance by the ballet. Span dates for the subseries are 1951-1995.

Subseries V-D, Costume Designs, are listed by date and filed according to the performance that they were designed for. Also included are two articles on costuming by Hermene Schwartz. The subseries dates from 1940 to the 1981.

Subseries V-E, Photographs and Slides, offer positive images and some negatives from the various productions and rehearsals. These date 1940-1991 and are sorted by the format.

Subseries V-F, Audio Reels and Videocassettes, contains audio recordings, and videotapes spanning 1982-1998. The reels and cassettes are sorted by the type of media.

Subseries V-G, Auxiliary Organizations, contains minutes, financial reports, announcements, and newsletters for two auxiliary organizations the Friends of the Dayton Ballet and the Dayton Performing Arts Fund covering the years 1959-1995.

Subseries V-H, Associations and Festivals, includes material connected with the Dayton Ballet's membership in the National Association for Regional Ballet (NARB), the Northeastern Regional Ballet Association (NERBA), the American Dance Guild, and the Association of Ohio Dance Companies. Included in this subseries are newsletters, correspondence, membership rosters, festival preparation details and programs, broadsides, regional conference material, member company evaluations, and some publications of the NARB and the NERBA. This subseries has much useful information about the regional ballet movement, and Dayton Ballet's long, active, and influential involvement with it. The subseries also includes material relating to Josephine Schwarz's participation in the Ohio Arts Council. Span dates for the subseries are 1959 1988. Subseries V-I, Correspondence, covers such topics as choreography, staging, touring, festivals, performances, booking details, educational programs, company personnel, financial matters, and public relations. There are also specific correspondence files for Josephine Schwarz, former Director of the Dayton Ballet, and Jon Rodriguez, a former Associate Director of the company and Director of the Ballet School, which mainly contain correspondence with their colleagues throughout the dance world.

Subseries V-J, Publicity, consists of press releases, promotional material, broadsides, and press clippings. Span dates for this subseries are 1913 1995.

Subseries V-K, Miscellaneous, 1907-1988, contains an assorted collection of files including an article on medical problems of dancers; some information about a short lived associated group of dancers, the Dayton Chamber Dance Company; a proposal for a BFA in Dance at Wright State University; and some reminiscences about Hermene Schwartz after her death; some information on a training program for a dance class pianist; and a file containing miscellaneous papers relating to Josephine Schwarz.

Subseries V-L, Scrapbooks, contain a chronological record of programs, broadsides, newspaper and magazine articles and memorabilia covering the early careers of Josephine and Hermene Schwarz, the Schwarz School of the Dance, the early dance groups, and the Dayton Ballet. Dates for the scrapbooks are 1920 1981, and 1989.

Subseries V-M, Oversize Records, mainly contains large publicity posters, but also includes some costume designs, photographs, and citations and awards. These large records date 1959-1987 and are stored in the flat file oversize drawers.


  • Creation: 1907-1998


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing most material in this collection; however, due to preservation concerns, original audio and videocassettes and reels cannot be played in the reading room. Patrons may have access to digitized reference copies. Items without existing reference copies can be digitized at the patron’s request for the cost of creating a digital copy. Please contact us at least two (2) weeks in advance if you would like to request an audio or video reference copy.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

History of The Dayton Ballet Company

Dayton Ballet is the second oldest regional ballet company in the United States. Founded in 1937 by Josephine and Hermene Schwarz, it was first known as the Experimental Group for Young Dancers and its home was the Dayton Art Institute. This group was an outgrowth of the Schwarz School of Dance, and its purpose was to give the school's more advanced students an opportunity to gain performing experience by presenting concerts to local organizations.

In 1941 the group's name changed to the Dayton Theater Dance Group, and in 1948 the Children's Ballet Company was founded for dancers between the ages of 10 and 14. In 1957 the two companies merged to become the Dayton Ballet Theater. In the early 1950s two membership support groups were formed, the Dayton Ballet Society and the Dayton Dance Guild, to promote dance in the Dayton area and to help maintain the dance companies.

A major reorganization took place in 1958 to bring the functions of all the groups under one corporation the Dayton Civic Ballet, Incorporated. That same year saw the establishment of a Board of Directors, the granting of federal tax-exempt status, a successful lay membership drive, and charter membership in the Northeastern Regional Ballet Association. An auxiliary organization, the Friends of the Dayton Ballet was founded in 1968. The corporation was renamed the Dayton Ballet Association in 1978.

The Schwarz School of Dance continued to be independent and privately run by the Schwarz sisters until 1984, when the Dayton Ballet Association assumed its administration and renamed it the Dayton Ballet Dance Center. Upon the merger of the Jon Rodriguez School of Ballet with the Dayton Ballet Dance Center in 1988, the school became simply known as Dayton Ballet School.

In the interests of promoting dance in the Miami Valley area, Dayton Ballet gives numerous lecture demonstrations and mini concerts to local schools, and organizations. The company was granted Major Company status by the National Association for Regional Ballet (NARB) and performed annually at the NARB festivals. NARB became Regional Dance America in 1987.

In 2012, leadership of the Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera, and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra merged under one organization named the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. This merger was the first of its kind in the nation. As of 2020, the Dayton Ballet performs at Dayton's historic Victoria Theatre and the Schuster Center.


34 linear feet

17.65 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



Records consist of organizational papers, annual reports, financial records, and performance programs for two early dance groups that predated the Dayton Ballet Company. Dayton Ballet Company records start in 1958 and include a constitution, minutes of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee, officers and membership lists, annual reports, newsletters, financial records, an extensive collection of performance records and programs, correspondence, records of the Friends of the Dayton Ballet, press releases, clippings, and materials relating to the Dayton Ballet's membership in national and regional dance organizations. Also included are scrapbooks containing clippings, photographs, and programs which highlight the early careers of Dayton Ballet founders, Josephine and Hermene Schwarz, as well as the activities and performances of the Company.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 5 series and 243 subseries as follows:

  1. SERIES I: Early Dance Companies and Support Groups, 1938-1960
  2. Subseries I-A: Dayton Theatre Dance Group, 1938-1960
  3. Subseries I-B: Children's Ballet Company, 1955
  4. Subseries I-C: Dayton Ballet Theater, 1956-1958
  5. Subseries I-D: Dayton Ballet Society, 1953
  6. Subseries I-E: Dayton Dance Guild, 1953
  7. SERIES II: Schwarz School of the Dance, 1930-1987
  8. Subseries II-A: Administrative Records, 1933-1987
  9. Subseries II-B: Performance Records, 1933-1979
  10. Subseries II-C: Costume Designs, 1945-1965
  11. Subseries II-D: Photographs, 1930-1963
  12. SERIES III: Dayton Ballet Dance Center, 1984-1987
  13. Subseries III-A: Administrative Records, 1984-1987
  14. SERIES IV: Dayton Ballet School, circa 1980-1989
  15. Subseries IV-A: Administrative Records, circa 1980-1989
  16. SERIES V: Dayton Civic Ballet/Dayton Ballet Company, 1907-1998
  17. Subseries V-A: Administrative Records, 1958-1990
  18. Subseries V-B: Financial Records, 1956-1988
  19. Subseries V-C: Performance Records,1951-1995
  20. Subseries V-D: Costumes Designs, 1940-1981
  21. Subseries V-E: Photographs and Slides, 1940-1991
  22. Subseries V-F: Audio Reels and Videocassettes, 1982-1998
  23. Subseries V-G: Auxiliary Organizations, 1959-1995
  24. Subseries V-H: Associations and Festivals, 1959-1988
  25. Subseries V-I: Correspondence, 1959-1990
  26. Subseries V-J: Publicity, 1913-1995
  27. Subseries V-K: Miscellaneous Materials, 1907-1988
  28. Subseries V-L: Scrapbooks, 1920-1981, 1989
  29. Subseries V-M: Oversize Records, 1959-1987

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection includes digitized reference copies of original videocassettes, and these electronic files require the use of appropriate computer hardware and software. The digitized video files are in MP4 format.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University Libraries, by Hermene and Josephine Schwarz as a liaison for Dayton Ballet in 1975.


Additional records were accessioned in 1981, 1983, 1985, 1989, 1990, and 2005.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection includes digitized reference copies of original videocassettes, which are identified in the collection inventory and are located in the E-Archives.

Related Materials

MS-218: Josephine Schwarz Papers

MS-193: Josephine Schwarz/Jane Reece Photograph Collection

MS-185: Richard Fullerton/Jane Reece Collection

Separated Materials

Oversize materials in the collection are separated to flat file storage. Digital reference copies of U-matic tapes in the collection are located in the E-Archives.

Processing Information

Processed by Dorothy Smith, Fall 1981; Gillian Hill, Summer 1990; and Amber McPherson, 2005.

Guide to the Dayton Ballet Company Records (MS-48)
Finding aid prepared by Dorothy Smith, Fall 1981; Gillian Hill, Summer 1990; and Amber McPherson, 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2014 March : Finding aid revised according to DACS, scrapbooks series rehoused by Toni Vanden Bos.
  • 2020 July: MP4 digital files of videocassettes processed by Toni Vanden Bos

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA