Charlotte York Irey Oral History, 2005
Charlotte Irey talks about her lifetime in dance. She had her first taste of modern dance at the age of 17 when she traveled to Dresden, Germany to study with Mary Wigman. Modern dance was in its infancy at this time (1930s). The dance training that she had did not prepare her for the non-technique modern dance taught by Wigman. Irey enjoyed the study and realized only a few years later how important modern dance class was to her. Irey earned her degree from the University of Wisconsin. Irey speaks about her first teaching job at Stevens College where she met her future husband, Gene. He was from Colorado so they moved to Boulder, Colo. Irey was hired as a dance instructor in the Physical Education Dept. at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Irey discusses her plans for dance at the University. She created a Dance Department that was not a part of the Physical Education Dept. She was instrumental in bringing a dance degree to the University and eventually a masters program in dance. Irey talks about how important it was to her to have classes available in as many dance forms as possible. She states that many dance teachers have a limited view of dance depending on their specialties. Because of Irey and the instructors she hired over the years, modern dance became the specialty of the University. However, it was not the only dance form taught. Irey also discusses her years choreographing for the Theatre Dept.'s musical shows and setting up a summer guest artist program where many famous dancers such as Charles Weidman and Pearl Lang taught classes. She also discusses how important it was to communicate with other dance instructors at other schools, to keep in contact with those interested in developing dance programs. She was part of CODA (Congress of Dance Administrators).
- Friends of the Carson-Brierly Dance Library (Organization)
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2 items (sound tape cassette)
Scope and Contents
From the Series: This series contains transcripts, cassettes, and personal files on the 2005 'Legends of Dance.'
Biographical / Historical
Charlotte York Irey was the first chair of the University of Colorado, Boulder, Dance Department. In 1953 she was appointed Dance Instructor in the Women's Department of Physical Education. In 1963, she was promoted to Assistant Professor in and 1968, Associate Professor. The Department of Theatre and Dance was established in 1973, led by Charlotte. She held the position until her retirement in 1986. Before entering college, Charlotte studied dance with Mary Wigman in Germany. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Good 2 cassette tapes 69 minutes, 31 seconds
Gift of the Friends of the Carson Brierly Dance Library, 2004.
Interview conducted at 4875 Sioux Dr., Apt. 101, Boulder, Colo., 80303-3833 on Oct. 13, 2004.