NAME: Dove, Ulysses

BIRTH DATE/LOCATION:
17 January 1947, Columbia, South Carolina

DEATH DATE/LOCATION:
11 June 1996, St. Vincent's Hospital, Manhattan, age 49


  • identification & bio
  • key contact
  • human repositories
  • video documentation
  • photographic documentation
  • movement notation
  • production materials
  • oral history
  • personal papers
  • immediate needs
  • other relevant information
  • overview of works
  • bibliography
  • back to introduction
  • back to index of choreographers


  • IDENTIFICATION AND BIO:
    Ulysses Dove was an independent choreographer who worked in both the modern dance and ballet idioms. After attending a Graham performance in 1967, Dove gave up his pre-med studies at Howard University to dance professionally with Merce Cunningham, Alvin Ailey, and Anna Sokolow. His first choreography, I See the Moon...and the Moon Sees Me (1979), was commissioned by Ailey. Although he never maintained a company of his own, Dove worked closely with Jeraldyne Blunden's Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and created works for American Ballet Theatre, Ballet France de Nancy, the Basel Ballet, Cullberg Ballet of Sweden, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, New York City Ballet, and the Swedish National Ballet, for which he created the transcendent Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven (1993). In 1980, he became the assistant director of the experimental Choreographic Research Group of the Paris Opera. A benefit titled For the Love of Dove, with proceeds dedicated to the Actor's Fund and its programs for dancers and other needy professionals, was produced just days after his death from complications of AIDS. Five major modern dance and ballet companies performed Dove's works on that program.

    KEY CONTACT PERSON(S)/EXECUTOR OF ESTATE:
    Dove was survived by his mother, Ruth Hodge of Willingsboro, New Jersey, as well as a brother and sister; also noted as friend was Margaret Selby.

    Margaret Selby, executor

    HUMAN REPOSITORIES OF THE WORK
    (name and contact info, relationship to the artist and the work, assessment):

    As executor, Selby assigns rehearsal directors in pairs to reset the works.

    VIDEO DOCUMENTATION
    (location, format, condition, assessment):

    Two videos are widely available:

    Dance in America: Two by Dove (1995)—Emmy-winning entry in the Great Performances series on Public Television, produced by Margaret Selby.

    The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Steps Ahead (1991)—compilation video including Ulysses Dove's Episodes as danced by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; co-produced by Danmarks Radio and RM Arts in association with Thirteen/WNET, New York. Telecast on Thirteen/WNET's Great Performances: Dance in America series on 8 February.

    In addition, the following videotapes are contained in the Dance Collection of the New York Public Library. According to Selby, all documentation is held by the Dance Collection:

    A Remembrance of the Life of Burt Supree (1992)—memorial service for dance critic Burt Supree (1941-1992); videotaped at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, New York, on 3 June; includes Ulysses Dove's Vespers Part I: The Visitation of the Angel; two 3/4 in. videocassettes (74 min.); call number MGZIC 9-4016.

    Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (c1996)—compilation video taped in performance at the Wang Center for the Performing Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, on 25 April and including Ulysses Dove's Urban Folk Dance; danced by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; one 3/4 in. videocassette (29 min.); call number MGZIC 9-5135.

    Ballet (c1995)—compilation video including Ulysses Dove's Serious Pleasures; Ballet Films, Inc.; directed, produced and edited by Frederick Wiseman; two VHS videocassettes (172 min.); call number MGZIA 4-2935.

    Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (199?)—compilation video including Ulysses Dove's Vespers with artistic direction, Jeraldyne Blunden; videotaped in performance at unidentified location and date; danced by Dayton Contemporary Dance Company; one VHS videocassette (67 min.); call number MGZIA 4-3065.

    DIFFA presents a demand performance (1993)—compilation video taped in performance at New York State Theater on October 18; presented by the Design Industries Foundation for AIDS in collaboration with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids; includes Ulysses Dove's Vespers Part I: Visitation of the Angel; four 3/4 in. videocassettes (163 min.); call number MGZIC 9-4078.

    For the Love of Dove: a Benefit for the Actors' Fund of America (c1996)—wide shot videorecording videotaped in performance at New York State Theater, New York, on 17 June by Sathya Production Services; camera, Juan Barrera and Jake Ostroff; produced by Margaret Selby and Bill Darnell; choreography by Ulysses Dove includes Red Angels, Vespers, Uraban Folk Dance, Serious Pleasures, Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven and Twillight; three 3/4 in. videocassettes (129 min.); call number MGZIC 9-5179 (wide shot version; for close shot, see MGZIC 9-5180).

    Hidden Rites [and] Episodes (1991)—compilation video taped in performance for the Jerome Robbins Archive on 2 April at Zellerbach Auditorium, Berkeley, California; Episodes choreography by Ulysses Dove and Hidden Rites choreography by Alvin Ailey; performed by members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; one 3/4 in. videocassette (52 min.); call number MGZIC 9-2696.

    The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Steps Ahead (1991)—compilation video including Ulysses Dove's Episodes as danced by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; co-produced by Danmarks Radio and RM Arts in association with Thirteen/WNET, New York. Telecast on Thirteen/WNET's Great Performances: Dance in America series on 8 February; one 3/4 in. videocassette (59 min.); call number MGZIC 9-2593.

    PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION
    (location, format, condition, assessment):

    The companies where Dove danced or where his works are performed maintain their own photographic files.

    MOVEMENT NOTATION
    (location, type [including notes taken by dancers], assessment):

    None. "Dove didn't believe in it," says Selby.

    PRODUCTION MATERIALS
    (scores, sound recordings, set/costume designs):

    These materials are licensed with the ballets and are maintained by Selby.

    ORAL HISTORY:
    Interviews with Dove are included in the documentary titled For the Love of Dove (see above). Dove was also interviewed by Charlie Rose on Rose's PBS television show. Still, Dove did not complete an oral history per se, but after his death many friends and colleagues created a joint oral history for him, under the auspices of the Oral History Project of the Dance Collection of the New York Public Library:

    Working with Ulysses Dove. Ethan Brown, Parrish Maynard (c1996)—Interviewees Ethan Brown and Parrish Maynard, dancers with American Ballet Theatre, recall how Ulysses Dove created the ballet Serious Pleasures for the company; unedited footage taped in New York on 18 June; one 3/4 in. videocassette (31 min.); call number MGZIC 9-5161.

    Working with Ulysses Dove. Jeraldyne Blunden, Dawn Wood (c1996)—Jeraldyne Blunden and Dawn Wood, respectively founder/artistic director and dancer/rehearsal director of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, remember the late Ulysses Dove as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer; videotaped in New York on 18 June; one 3/4 in. videocassette (30 min.); call number MGZIC 9-5159.

    Working with Ulysses Dove. Nasha Thomas, Masazumi Chaya (c1996)—videotaped in New York on 18 June; video includes reminiscing about the late dancer-choreographer Ulysses Dove, and impressions of him in professional and private life according to Thomas and Chaya; one 3/4 in. videocassette (30 min.); call number MGZIC 9-5158.

    Working with Ulysses Dove. Marie Lindqvist (c1996)—Marie Lindqvist, a dancer with the Royal Swedish Ballet, talks about the experience of working with Ulysses Dove on his ballet Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, which he created for the company; one 3/4 in. videocassette (27 min.); call number MGZIC 9-5160.

    Working with Ulysses Dove. Mary Hinkson, Margaret Selby (c1996)—Mary Hinkson, formerly a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company, and Margaret Selby, who produced the Dance in America program Two by Dove, trace Ulysses Dove's career as dancer and choreographer; videotaped in New York on 18 June; one 3/4 in. videocassette (30 min.); call number MGZIC 9-5163.

    Working with Ulysses Dove. Peter Boal, Desmond Richardson (c1996)—Interviewees: Peter Boal (a dancer with New York City Ballet) and Desmond Richardson (a former member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) discuss works choreographed by Ulysses Dove for their respective companies; taped in New York on 18 June; one 3/4 in. videocassette (30 min.); call number MGZIC 9-5162.

    PERSONAL PAPERS
    (location of newspaper clippings, printed programs, press releases, notes, files, diaries; assessment):

    The Dance Collection of the New York Public Library maintains a clippings file for "Dove, Ulysses," call number MGZR. Additional papers are in Selby's possession, including xxxxx.

    IMMEDIATE NEEDS
    (archival assistance? storage? other?):

    Permission from Margaret Selby to list her contact information as executor.

    OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION:
    Dove choreographed for many companies including: Royal Swedish Ballet, Cullberg Ballet, the Ballet France de Nancy, the Basel Ballet, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, London Festival Ballet, New York City Ballet, and American Ballet Theater.

    PARTIAL LIST OR OVERVIEW OF WORKS
    (title, premiere date, music, production notes, performers):

    I See the Moon...and the Moon Sees Me (1979)—Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

    Inside (1980)—solo for Judith Jamison of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

    Bad Blood (1984)

    Vespers (1986)—Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Ohio

    The Civil Wars (1986)—choreographed Robert Wilson-Philip Glass opera

    Faits et Gestes (1988)

    Episodes (1989)—created for London Festival Ballet after a friend's death

    Urban Folk Dance (1990)

    Serious Pleasures (1992)—for American Ballet Theater; dancers included Robert Conn, Carld Jonassaint, Ethan Brown, and Keith Roberts; inspired by the film The Last Temptation of Christ, about love and pleasure in the nineties

    Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven (1993)—for the Royal Swedish Ballet; U.S. premiere at the For the Love of Dove benefit in New York City; piece was subtitled "Odes to Love and Loss" and, according to Dunning's review, the piece "suggests a broken flow of relationships by placing his solos and duets in a chain of white spotlights"

    Red Angels (1994)—for New York City Ballet Diamond Project

    Twilight (1996)—for New York City Ballet

    BIBLIOGRAPHY:

    • Bonis, Bernadette. 1983. "Inauguration de l'Espace Oscar Niemeyer au Havre: ‘Night Shade' de Ulysses Dove." Pour la Danse 86 (January): 22-23. illus.
    • Dance Magazine. 1996. "Obituaries: Ulysses Dove." Dance Magazine (Aug?).
    • Dunning, Jennifer. 1997. "Dance Review: Odd Romantic Duet: The Grass Wins." New York Times (16 August): 18.
    • __________. 1996. "Ulysses Dove, Creator of Dark, Driving Dances, Dies at 49." New York Times (12 June).
    • Gladstone, Valerie. 1995. "Ulysses Dove." Dance Ink 6 (3) (Fall): 28, illus.
    • Solomons Jr., Gus. 1992. "Serious Pleasures for ABT: Dove Ascending." Dance Magazine (May): 54-56.
    • Topaz, Muriel. 1996. "The Actors' Fund Loves Dove." Dance Magazine (June): 67-70.
    • ________. 1996. "Ulysses Dove : the Actors' Fund Loves Dove." Dance Magazine (June): 66-70, illus.
    • Wallach, Maya. 1989/90. "Ulysses Dove Takes Flight in Rehearsal." Attitude 6 (2) (Winter): 4-5, illus.
     
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