Collecting StrandNational Resource Centre for Dance
Ref NoJR
Extent94 files of papers, 69 photographs, approx. 80 theatre programmes, 2 scrapbooks, 1 piece of artwork, 1 poster, 2 audiotapes, 7 videotapes (master and viewing copies), 8 films, 1 DVD, 1 object
Name of CreatorRussell; Joan (1921-1989); Dance educator
DescriptionJoan Mercedes Russell MBE (1921-1989) was a prominent dance educationalist whose work involved teaching, writing, taking part in conferences, choreographing and producing dance. During 1948-1950, she studied at the Laban Art of Movement Studio under Rudolf Laban and Lisa Ullmann, whose ideas greatly influenced her. Committed to modern dance, creative dance and dance drama, she spread these to children of all ages and levels of dance experience. As a practising Christian, she instigated a number of ventures involving dance with religious worship. She established the dance department at Worcester Training College (later Worcester College of Higher Education). She taught there through 1948-1982, choreographing and producing works for their annual performances. She also taught both children and teachers on numerous short dance courses and lectured in schools, colleges and universities in Britain and abroad. She chaired Worcester Dance Group, the Laban Art of Movement Guild, Dance and the Child International (daCi), and the Modern Educational Dance Section of the Association of Teachers in Colleges and Departments of Education . She wrote three books: 'Modern Dance in Education' (London: MacDonald and Evans, 1958); 'Creative Dance in the Primary School' (London: MacDonald and Evans, 1965); 'Creative Dance in the Secondary School' (London: MacDonald and Evans, 1969).

The papers include Joan Russell's extensive and detailed teaching notes, lesson plans and syllabi; her conference materials and lecture manuscripts; detailed notes and texts of her own choreography; her books in manuscript form; non-dance material that provided her with ideas and inspirations; and non-dance teaching materials and samples of children's work. Her work at Worcester Training College is demonstrated through papers, performance programmes, and photographs. The archive also contains materials about the Laban Guild and Dance and the Child international (daCi). The films and videos show Joan Russell teaching young children.

In addition to Joan Russell's own archive, this catalogue includes an audio recording of Brenda Jones speaking about Joan Russell and the Joan Russell archive.
ArrangementMaterial arranged at time of cataloguing according to the format-based classification scheme which was then in use by the National Resource Centre for Dance.

The original catalogue record created at the time of cataloguing stated:
"The files of papers have been arranged in the following order:
o Teaching notes \ 1944-1968
o Teaching activities abroad \ 1958-1982
o Courses \ 1964-1987
o Worcester Dance Group and choreographic notes \ 1964-1987
o Productions \ 1953-1979
o Choreographic notebooks \ 1952-1977
o Choreographic activities \ 1966-1979
o Lesson notes \ 1955-1964
o Articles and lecture notes \ 1957-1982
o Course manuscript
o Manuscripts and publishers correspondence \ 1957-1983
o Creative Dance in the Secondary School manuscripts and correspondence \ 1966-1984
o Press cuttings \ 1958-1960
o ATCDE correspondence \ 1963-1979
o Miscellaneous correspondence \ 1956-1984
o Miscellaneous lectures and associations \ 1958-1986
Theatre programmes are found in the papers and photographs; they have been catalogued as papers or photographs."

It is unclear how this is reflected in the way the papers are presented in this catalogue.
Related MaterialDance and the Child International (daCi) Archive, Rudolf Laban Archive, Lisa Ullmann Archive. Joan Russell's books are found in several collections at the NRCD.

See also Dance and the Child International (daCi) Archive, archive ref DC; the Rudolf Laban Archive, archive ref L; and the Lisa Ullmann Archive, archive ref LU; all held by Archives and Special Collections, University of Surrey.
Physical DescriptionSome of Russell's handwritten notes have become blurred, but are still readable. The films were transferred to digital videotape and DVD in 2006. Viewing copies were made of the videotapes, but listening copies have not yet been made of the audio cassettes.
Custodial HistoryBrenda Jones donated the archive to the NRCD in 1992, following the wishes of Joan Russell. Jones donated Russell's Laban Guild pendant in 1998. Preservation and cataloguing of the archive were funded by a grant from the Follett Initiative.
CodePerson NameDates
DS/UK/P3943Russell; Joan (1921-1989); Dance educator1921-1989
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