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Larry Boyette Papers and Photograph Collection

Identifier: D021


The Larry Boyette Papers and Photograph Collection primarily contain an assortment of photographs: performance, studio and candids, relating to Boyette's career as a dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet (ca.1947-1956), the (American) Ballet Theatre (1957-1959), and photographs from Boyette's tenure as an instructor of dance in his own Ballet Arts Studios in Denver and Boulder (1959-1984) and at the University of Colorado. The collection also includes personal photographs (taken by Larry), during and after his career as a dancer.


  • circa 1940-2004


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright not evaluated: The copyright and related rights status of this Item has not been evaluated. Please refer to the organization that has made the Item available for more information. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. See:

Biographical / Historical

Larry Boyette, born William Lawrence Boyette on May 3, 1924 in Four Oaks, North Carolina was the youngest child of Sidney and Irene Beard Boyette. In the 1940’s (probably after military service) he attended the University of North Carolina earning a B.A. degree in Theatre. A student of Margaret Craske, Anthony Tudor and Boris Romanoff, Larry Boyette subsequently danced with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet for nine years (ca.1947-1956). While at the Met, he performed on live television with the ballerina, Mia Slavenska for the Gala Opening of the 1954-1955 Met Opera Season in a ballet excerpted from the opera ''Aida.'' Boyette also appeared briefly on Broadway (ca.1956-1957) before joining (American) Ballet Theatre (1957-1959). After performing with ABT, Boyette, along with fellow ABT alumnus George Tomal, moved to Denver, Colorado in 1959. Both Boyette and Tomal became joint-directors of the Ballet Theatre School of Denver. The school had been established in Denver in the early 1950's as a satellite school for the Ballet Theatre company and was later renamed Ballet Arts Center.

From 1959 until ca.1967 (when Georga Tomal left Denver and the co-directorship of the school) both Boyette and Tomal worked not only as instructors at the school, but also as choreographers for, among others, the Bonfils Theatre, Denver Lyric Opera and at the University of Colorado, Boulder. It was also during this time that the ''Ballet Arts Performing Fund'' and the ''Ballet Arts Company'' were established. Two additional satellite studios were founded in South-Denver and Boulder, Colorado in the mid-1960’s. Starting in 1963, Tomal and Boyette had also alternated as an instructors of dance at the University of Colorado. After Tomal's departure, Boyette continued at the university until his retirement from CU in 1991.

In 1973, Larry Boyette established the non-profit organization, ''Ballet Arts Foundation,'' devoted to the development of ballet in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain area. The purpose of the Ballet Arts Foundation was to develop taste and encourage appreciation for qualified, artistically sound, professional ballet performance. The Foundation was also concerned with providing opportunities for young people to study with teachers of extraordinary merit, especially in the Cecchetti technique, sponsoring master classes and developing dance demonstrations to sensitize students in the public schools to the values of ballet. Finally, the Foundation believed in providing opportunities for young students to perform works in the different modes of ballet with dancers/choreographers of national and international reputation, and encouraged students to create original choreography, to be realized in performance. The foundation's name was eventually changed to ''Foundation for Public Education in Ballet Arts,'' and finally to ''Ballet Arts Theatre'' in 1983. Between 1978 and 1984, Ballet Arts Theatre performed in at least twenty-five productions with the Denver Symphony Orchestra at Boettcher Concert Hall, including Kids Concerts.

Although Boyette sold his Ballet Arts studios in 1984, he continued to teach ballet through the beginning of year 2004. Larry Boyette died in Denver, Colorado on March 16, 2004 of congestive heart failure at the age of 80.


8.75 Linear Feet (3 containers)

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of personal and professionally related photographs of Boyette's time as a dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet (ca.1945-ca.1955) and (American) Ballet Theater (1956-1959). Included in this category are numerous signed portraits of important opera singers from the Metropolitan Opera and dancers from (American) Ballet Theatre. Additionally, there is a large assortment of candid photographs or "snapshots" from when Boyette was living in New York City and while on tour with the Metropolitan Opera in the early 1950's. There are also an assortment of photographs relating to Boyette's time as a teacher in the Denver area during his tenure as instructor at both his Ballet Arts Studio and at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. Three scrap books are also included in the collection, they include; photographs from his tenure at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and American Ballet Theater, photographs from Larry's 78th birthday celebration (2003), and a memorial scrapbook from Larry's celebration of life.


The collection is arranged in five series: 1. Photographs, 1945-1984. 2.Ballet Arts Center documents, 1959-1985. 3. Scrapbooks, 1945-2004. 4. DVD, 2005. 5. Large Poster, ca. 1951.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Estate of Larry Boyette, 2004.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428