The N.C. Essay from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C. is now available on DigitalNC. The newspaper provides the students’ record of the school’s history in the first decade of its operation, from 1965 to 1976. Many NCSA alumni graced the pages of the N.C. Essay long before stardom…including Raleigh native Randy Jones (the cowboy from The Village People) who wrote several articles for the N.C. Essay in 1973.
One of the articles Jones composed was regarding the school’s collaboration with the famous dancer and choreographer Agnes de Mille, who frequently worked with the school’s dance students. De Mille was most widely known as the choreographer for the 1943 Broadway musical Oklahoma!, though she continued her musical theater work in Carousel (1945), Brigadoon (1947), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1949), and 110 in the Shade (1963), among other works.
De Mille’s legacy lives on in the numerous N.C. Essay articles that mention her. The school even dedicated a performing arts theater to her in 1975; the theater is still in use. For photos and an article from its opening performance series, click here.
The N.C. Essay also provides a history of the North Carolina Dance Theatre (now the Charlotte Ballet), the oldest professional dance company in the state. The company was originally formed in 1971 by Robert Lindgren, dean of the school of dance, with a grant from the Rockefeller foundation.
In the eleven years of newspapers that are now available, the following professional dancers are mentioned: Margaret Anders, Charles Devlin, Kathleen Fitzgerald, Georgiana Holmes, Kenneth Hughes, Rick McCullough, Janie Parker, Anne Patton, Gerald Tibbs, and Nolan T’Sani. Robert Ward, former North Carolina School of the Arts chancellor and musician, is also mentioned. Finally, actors Gary Beach, Tom Hulce, and Ira David Wood III also appear.
To explore these newly available resources, please click here.