Skip to main content

Colorado Dance Festival Records

Identifier: D010


The Colorado Dance Festival was organized in 1978 as a dance film series under the umbrella of the Boulder Dance Alliance. Founder Marda Kirn served as artistic director in 1978. In 1980 the film series was renamed the Independent Boulder Dance Festival. The name was again changed in 1982 to the Colorado Dance Festival, and featured workshops, classes and performances. The festival spearheaded the American tap dance revival. Unable to finance further seasons, the festival closed in 2001. Photographs include a series of action stills featuring Blondell Cummings with Keith Terry; Eiko and Koma images as well as David Dorfman Dance. The collection includes publicity and production photographs used for performer biographies in programs and as publicity for performances during the Colorado Dance Festivals held in Boulder, Colorado. The photographs concentrate on modern dance, but also include outreach and social events sponsored by the festival.


  • 1979-2001


Digital Repository

Colorado Dance Festival Records

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

The Colorado Dance Festival began as a dance film series under the aegis of the Boulder (Colorado) Dance Alliance in 1978. Marda Kirn was its founder and artistic director for many years. By 1980 the film series became the independent Boulder Dance Festival, a week of classes and performances funded by grants and donations, and using facilities at the University of Colorado. Renamed the Colorado Dance Festival soon after, the enterprise gained a national reputation for presenting new, young performers and companies. During subsequent seasons the festival expanded to a full month of workshops, classes, and performances in a variety of venues. The Colorado Dance Festival was a pioneer in spearheading the American tap dance revival. A legendary 1986 presentation at the Casino Cabaret in Denver’s Five Points (the city’s traditional hub of African-American identity and culture) called “The Great Tap Reunion” presented dancers Eddie Brown, Charles “Honi” Coles, Steven Condos, Jimmy Slyde, and Gregory Hines. A later festival offered some of the younger greats of the genre including a young Savion Glover. The International Tap Association grew out of this impetus and continues to publish a magazine devoted to tap dance aficionados. A performance in 1988 of Robert Davidson’s “Meister Eckhart” introduced audiences to the potential of “aerial dance,” that is, the use of low-flying trapeze technique as a legitimate facet of dance. In the wake of September 11, 2001, the festival was unable to finance further seasons and folded. The Carson-Brierly Dance Library received all the festival’s office files in spring 2002 including its photography archive.


65.75 Linear Feet (63 containers)

Scope and Contents

The Colorado Dance Festival Records Photograph Series was established as a working collection of photographs, intended for loaning to various news media for publicity and supporting previews, reviews and features. All of the artists and companies presented by the festival are represented. The collection is particularly rich in modern dance; skimpy in ballet and ethnic forms. The bulk of the photographs are eight inch by ten inch glossy prints though many of the images are duplicated in negative transparencies depending on the needs of various publications. There are numerous 35 mm. color slides as well. Duplicate prints have been weeded; negatives retained. Over 600 entries represent over 1,000 images. The collection includes publicity and production photographs submitted by individuals and dancers either for faculty/performer biographies for programs or as publicity for performances during the Colorado Dance Festival held in Boulder, Colorado. The collection also includes outreach and social events sponsored by the festival. Notable is a series of action stills featuring Blondell Cummings with Keith Terry; a rich variety of Eiko and Koma images as well as David Dorfman Dance. Not cataloged are the various snapshots of outreach activities, parties following openings and other social occasions.


The collection is arranged into five series: Photographs, Posters, Administrative Files, Artist Files and Videos, and Clippings. The photograph series is arranged alphabetically by company name or artist. The posters are arranged chronologically. The clippings series consists of photocopied articles compiled in annual compilations.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Marda Kirn, 2002.


No further accruals are expected.


No accession record exists.

Processing Information

This collection was reprocessed in 2016 by Nathalie Proulx. The Photograph series was previously established as its own collection and in 2016 was combined with the Colorado Dance Festival Administrative Records (previously D011) to create the Colorado Dance Festival Records. The other four series were created in the combining of the collections. The Administrative Files and Artist Files and Videos series are unarranged. The clippings file consists of previously cataloged press books from each year of the Colorado Dance Festival. The bibliographic information for these items is linked to Box 62 and Box 63 through Alma.


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