Category: Dance

In Remembrance of Vera Blaine

Vera Blaine, teacher, choreographer, dancer, and department chair, passed away peacefully on December 26, 2016.  A celebration of her life will be held on Sunday, January 15, 2017, 1:00 p.m., at the Department of Dance, Sullivant Hall, 1813 North High Street, Columbus, OH.

Vera Blain - Portrait

Vera Blain – Portrait

By Marissa Ajamian

Vera Blaine, affectionately known as Vickie, had an extremely prolific career in the arts and in the Department of Dance at Ohio State. She received both her BS and MA at The Ohio State University and she returned to the University as a professor of dance. She was also the chairperson of the Department of Dance for twelve years. While she was teaching at the Department of Dance, she changed how composition was being taught by introducing the study of weight. These weight studies that Blaine created continue to be taught in the Department of Dance.

Vera Blaine - Heel Talk

Vera Blaine – Heel Talk

Blaine was born in 1934 in Barberton, OH. In her junior year of high school, Blaine joined the Actors Guild of Variety Artists which allowed her to perform in working class clubs in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. After high school, Blaine wanted to become a professional tap dancer. However, her father felt that Blaine should go to college. This led Blaine to study dance at The Ohio State University.

When she registered for classes, Blaine enrolled in modern dance with Helen Alkire who became one of Blaine’s mentors. While Blaine was a student, Alkire took the dancers to the American Dance Festival. At the festival, Blaine took her first composition course with Louis Horst, composition teacher and musical director for Martha Graham. After receiving her Masters at Ohio State, Blaine moved to New York City to study under Horst at the Martha Graham School of Dance. While in New York, she also studied at the Cunningham studio to learn the Cunningham technique and repertory. Her classmates included Yvonne Rainer and Trisha Brown.

Vera Blaine - Teaching

Vera Blaine – Teaching

In the late 1960s, Blaine was offered a teaching position at Ohio State where she was influenced by the work Lucy Venable and Odette Blum were doing with Labanotation. The Laban effort and space work intrigued Blaine which led her to create her composition class around weight studies. She became the leading choreographer and director of the University Dance Company for 15 years. In 1977 she received the Ohio State University Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award. In 1983, Blaine became Chair for the Department of Dance which she remained until 1995. In 1988, she was the first recipient of the Chairperson Recognition Award. In 1996, Blaine received the OhioDance award. In 2005, she became Professor Emerita and taught Composition part-time in the department. In 2006, she received the University’s Distinguished Service Award. Her choreography has been performed by professional dance companies including HARRY, The Bill Evans 2nd Dance Company and the Kinetics Company.

Vera Blaine had a major impact on The Ohio State University’s Department of Dance. She was a mentor for many of the students of the department and helped to shape their ideas on composition. Her weight studies class continues to be used to help students become aware of these weight qualities within their own dancing. Blaine dedicated much of her life to building the Department of Dance and helping to maintain its status as one of the top dance departments in the country.

Marissa Ajamian is an undergraduate in the OSU Department of Dance. This blogpost is excerpted from a major research project she conducted as part of the Second-year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) during summer 2016 on OSU’s Women of Dance. Her research was supervised by Nena Couch and Karen Eliot.

“Lovely Hula Hands”

2014 IMLS Fellow Keahiahi Long Visits Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute

2014 Dance Heritage Coalition IMLS Fellow Keahiahi Long (right) and former DHC Fellow Rachael Riggs Leyva (left)

2014 Dance Heritage Coalition IMLS Fellow Keahiahi Long (right) and former DHC Fellow Rachael Riggs Leyva (left)

2014 Dance Heritage Coalition IMLS Fellow Keahiahi Long (right) and former DHC Fellow Rachael Riggs Leyva (left) explore a Labanotation score of “Lovely Hula Hands” in the Carl Wolz Papers of the Dance Notation Bureau Collection, finding interesting changes from the time the dance style was observed and notated to the way it is now practiced. 

“When did the avant-garde become black?” panel discussion


On Sunday, March 23 at 5 p.m., OSU Dance alums and major American choreographers Dianne McIntyre and Bebe Miller will be featured with other dance artists on a live-streamed panel discussion led by Bill T. Jones addressing “When did the avant-garde become black?”


TRI Receives Dance Preservation Fund Grant


TRI Receives Dance Preservation Fund Grant


The Libraries’ Theatre Research Institute has been awarded a Dance Preservation Fund (DPF) grant of $9,266 for a half-stipend plus benefits graduate associate to work in the Dance Notation Bureau’s collection at TRI.

The award was established in 1994 by the university Board of Trustees with an anonymous donor. The fund and the DPF committee award project grants by OSU faculty, faculty emeritus, students and resident artists, related to preservation and archiving.

Brian Devine presenting his MFA dance concert in Thompson Library

TRI summer staffer Brian Devine was back in the library February 4th presenting his MFA dance concert.  His site specific work in Thompson Library began in the stacks and ended on the floor of the east atrium, and had a large audience spread over several levels. This event is part of the choreographic and performance series entitled Ten Big Ideas, created by the members of the 2012-2013 MFA Dance class as the culminating projects of their graduate studies.



Ten Big Ideas Performance 1.


Ten Big Ideas 2.

Ten Big Ideas 3.

Ten Big Ideas 3.


Ten Big Ideas 4

Ten Big Ideas 4


Ten Big Ideas 5

Ten Big Ideas 5