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Dance ID: 246
ChoreographerDate Choreographed
Doris Humphrey 1938
Dance Title: Passacaglia and fugue in C minor
Premier: Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman and Company, Bennington Dance Festival, Bennington College
Premier City: Bennington
Premier State: VT
Premier Country: US
Premier Date: August 5, 1938
Description of Work: From Juliette Waung, assistant notator (1957): “Big and open in conception, [Passacaglia and Fugue] is noble in the best and finest sense. If one word were chosen to express the feeling of this dance, it would be ‘grandeur’--without any aristocratic or haughty connotations.” From the Introduction, p. i: “The Passacaglia is like a procession through some idealized and noble city. The dancers, the celebrants themselves, become the architecture of the city. The architecture dances.” From Lucy Venable, notator: “It is a dance of affirmation... [it’s] a beautiful experience to dance with this music.”
Version Staged by: Doris Humphrey
Running Time: 15:20
Running Time Comments:  

Style of MovementComments
Modern Humphrey/Weidman/Limón

ICKL Number

NotatorPrimary NotatorYear Notated
Lucy Venable 1954-1955
Joan Gainer 1954-1955
Status of Score
Handwritten manuscript

Pagination: xviii, 156
Level of Notation: Intermediate/Advanced

Certified byCertified Date
Allan Miles 1955
Lucy Venable 1982-1983
Transcribed ByTranscribed DateTranscribed Format
Candace Feck 1982Autography - “Passacaglia” section
Mary Sweeney 1983Autography - “Fugue” section
Mira Kim 2012LW 4.7.1
Number of Women: 13
Number of Minimum Women: 13
Number of Men: 5
Number of Minimum Men: 5
Number of Either Gender: 0
Number of Minimum of Either Gender: 0
Number of Soloist (Women): 0
Number of Soloist (Men): 0
Number of Soloist (Either Gender): 0
Number of Principle (Women): 1
Number of Principle (Men): 1
Number of Principle (Either Gender): 0
Total Cast: 18
Alternate Cast:  
Additional Cast:  
Level of Dancer: Advanced
Casting Notes: One or both leads perform the turn variation. All perform one or more variations. Can be done with as few as 14 dancers. 16 is a good number also. Can be done with all women
Dancers in Original Version: José Limón, Lucy Venable, Jemina Ben-Gal, Elaine Fisch, Poligena Rogers, Ellida Kaufman, Lola Huth, Joan Gainer, Margot Mink, Cristyne Lawson, Dorene Richardson, Janet Byer, Cynthia Stone, Melisa Nicolaides, Sheldon Ossosky, Chester Wolenski, Charles Nicoll, Bruce Carlisle
Dancers in Staged Version: Juilliard School Dance Division

Costume Information: Costume sketches on file at DNB
Lighting Information: Basic lighting information is provided with score
Props Information:  
Set Information: Set is made of 11 cubes. Basic set information provided with score
Miscellaneous Production Information:  
Music ComposerComments
Johann Sebastian Bach  
Peter J. Billam Arranged [for four hands on piano]

Music Title:Passacaglia and fugue in C minor

Music Formats Available from the DNBMusic Format Comments
Unmarked Score  
Marked Score  
Reel-to-reel tape  

Live Music Required:
Music in Public Domain:
Music Rights Comments:  
Music Availablity Offsite:  
Other Music Information: From Notator Lucy Venable: "Piano score is for staging when no live organ music can be provided.
Format AvailableComments
VHS or PAL Video The National Institute of Arts, Taiwan (AKA Taiwan National University of Arts), May 2000. Staged by Yunyu Wang
VHS or PAL Video Repertory Dance Theater, 1982. Staged by Tom Brown
VHS or PAL Video [Note -- In house use only] Dub from Betamax video. Company and year unknown
DVD The National Institute of Arts, Taiwan (AKA Taiwan National University of Arts), May 2000. Staged by Yunyu Wang
DVD Repertory Dance Theater, 1982
Film (16mm) The Ohio State University
Film (16mm) Repertory Class, 1963
Film (2") 14 minutes 30 seconds
LabanWriter Format
Reference Books
Humphrey, Doris. Doris Humphrey: The Collected Works, vols. 1-2 [Notation scores]. New York: Dance Notation Bureau Press, 1978 (vol. 1); 1992 (vol. 2)
Dance Techniques and Studies, Book 1 [Labanotation textbook]. New York: Dance Notation Bureau Press, 1950
Permission for Education: Yes
Permission for Education Comments:  
Permission for Research: Yes
Permission for Research Comments:  
Permission for Performance: Contract Required
Permission for Performance Comments:  
Dance in Public Domain:
Copyright Information: Copyright 1967 by Charles Woodford
Royalty FeeComments
$$$ per performance
Licensing FeeComments
$$$$ for one year
$$$$$ for two years
Artist Contact
Charles Woodford

DNB Archival Score Available:
Archival Score Comment: Locate at OSU Library
Archival Score Box Label: Master Box 40
Archival Score Condition: Good
Archival Revised Score:
Archival Revised Score Comments:  
Master Copy Available:
Master Copy Comments:  
Circulating Copy Available:
Circulating Copy Comments:  
Item Microfilmed:
Archival Offsite Copy
Microfilms: NYPL Dance Division *ZBD-127 Reel 28// *ZZ-17431 // *ZBD-33; OSU Special Collection Box 1-25, Box 4-157, Box 7-325, 326, Box 8-328, 348, 349, 361
Archival Score: OSU
Archival Revised Score: OSU
Score Copy: NYPL Dance Division *MGRN 73-75 // *MGRN 73-76 // *MGRN 73-77
Archival PlaybillsComments
Brochures and Fliers 
Archival PhotosComments
B&W Prints 
Oversize Prints 
Archival PapersComments
Costume Information, Swatches, and Sketches 
OtherManning, Susan, 1978. Gesture, Sign, Risk, Motion: A Consideration of Doris Humphrey's Passacaglia, 1978
Press Releases 

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Development of the Online Score Catalog was supported by grants from:  
Delmas NEA The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation