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Michigan Dance Archives: Denise Szykula Papers

 Collection
Identifier: UP002560
Szykula’s papers include choreographic notes and notations from many of her works dating from 1979 to 2015, as well as her notebooks of lesson plans dated from 1991 to 2018. Brochures, programs, publicity and correspondence are also included. There is one box of photos from various productions of her work, and an oversize box contains photos and posters, including original artwork. Small wooden stage-set mock-ups for two of her dances are part of the collection. One box containing slides and DVDs has been transferred to the Reuther A-V Department, and ten videos of dances are held in the Reuther digital repository.

Dates

  • 1970 - 2018

Creator

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.

Extent

6.5 Linear Feet (4 MB, 2 SB, 2 OS)

Abstract

Denise Szykula won praise over many decades for her work as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and innovator. Szykula founded Dance Nonce Ensemble in 1973 (later renamed Dance Nonce) and served as its artistic director and choreographer for over 45 years. As a respected teacher of modern dance and creative movement, Szykula has taught weekly classes as well as serving as guest teacher and choreographer for workshops and master classes in colleges and universities. Szykula has collaborated with many musicians and artists around Michigan, and her body of work has been supported frequently with grants from arts organizations. Szykula’s papers includes choreographic notes and notations from many of her works dating from 1979 to 2015, as well as her notebooks of lesson plans dated from 1991 to 2018. Brochures, programs, publicity and correspondence are also included. There is one box of photos from various productions of her work, and an oversize box contains photos and posters, including original artwork. Small wooden stage-set mock-ups for two of her dances are part of the collection. One box containing slides and DVDs has been transferred to the Reuther A-V Department, and ten videos of dances are held in the Reuther digital repository.

History

Denise Szykula won praise over many decades for her work as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and innovator. Born in Hamtramck, Michigan, in 1946, she established her dance career in Southeast Michigan. Szykula graduated from East Detroit High School, completed the medical office assistant program at Highland Park Junior College and attended Macomb Community College. Her formal dance training began in her teens at the renowned American Dance Festival at Connecticut College during three summers, where she studied with Martha Graham, Lucas Hoving, José Limon, Paul Taylor and Merce Cunningham. Her study at the Toronto Dance Theatre focused on modified Graham technique. In 1973, Szykula studied at the Wolftrap Dance Festival, at American University, Washington, DC, with Twyla Tharp among others. Szykula founded Dance Nonce Ensemble in 1973 (later renamed Dance Nonce) and served as its artistic director and choreographer for over 45 years. A professional modern dance company located in Southeast Michigan, Dance Nonce established a reputation for innovative and original work. In the 1980s, Szykula developed the Traveling Technique, a teaching technique that accommodated her own choreography for Dance Nonce. As a respected teacher of modern dance and creative movement, Szykula has taught weekly classes as well as serving as guest teacher and choreographer for workshops and master classes in colleges and universities. In 1989, she developed the Creative Movement Program for pre-school through kindergarten classes for the Grosse Pointe Academy (GPA), in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI. Additionally, in 1994, she designed and implemented the Creative ARTS Movement Program for grades one through five at the GPA, where she taught until 2015. Szykula has collaborated with many musicians and artists around Michigan, and her body of work has been supported frequently with grants from arts organizations. The Arts Foundation of Michigan recognized Szykula's work in 1984 with the Michigan Arts Award for Excellence. Her work with well-known Structurist artist, David Barr, is documented in the Archives of American Art. Szykula’s dance “Intrusions” is documented and preserved in the archives of the Dance Labanotation Bureau in New York. In 2004, she received the Touchstone Award as Michigan Dance Teacher of the Year from the Michigan Dance Council.

Arrangement

Folders are listed by their location within each box. They are not necessarily arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed throughout the entire collection.

Acquisition

Materials donated by Denise Szykula in batches in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018.

Related Materials

Michigan Dance Archives: Harriet Berg Papers and others

Transfers

Three DVDs and one box of slides transferred to Reuther A-V Department. Additional material--10 videos--are in the Reuther Digital Repository.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Aimee Ergas on 10 July 2018.
Title
Guide to the Michigan Dance Archives: Denise Szykula Papers
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Aimee Ergas.
Date
2018-07-10
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA