Yeats’ book on dance donated to National Dance Archive in UL

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A FIRST edition of a W. B. Yeats book published in 1921 has been donated to the University of Limerick and will be held in their National Dance Archive of Ireland.

A FIRST edition of a W. B. Yeats book published in 1921 has been donated to the University of Limerick and will be held in their National Dance Archive of Ireland.

The book, Four Plays for Dancers, was recently donated to the archive in UL’s Glucksman Library.

The book belonged to Sara Payne, an English ballet dancer and teacher at the Abbey Theatre School of Ballet from 1928 to 1931, during which time she performed in the dance plays that Yeats revived.

Professor Meg Harper, Yeats scholar and Glucksman chair in contemporary writing in English at UL, said the book is accompanied by handwritten notes - a record of the Abbey performances - which “will help change the ways we understand Yeats’s art.”

“His beautiful volume Four Plays for Dancers is one of the greatest examples of his modernist experimentation across the arts. These four short plays, along with notes and musical scores, show Yeats’s genius at creative collaboration with dancers, musicians, visual artists, and actors.

“This book is an exciting resource, stressing as it does Yeats’s engagements with political violence, religious controversy, gender instabilities, and aesthetic form,” said Professor Harper.

The book was donated by Sara Payne’s daughter and son, Orlaith and Julian Kelly. Sara Payne later worked at the Gate Theatre 1935-1945.

Her papers have also been donated to the Archive by her family and including programmes and press cuttings pertaining to ballet in Dublin during the period 1929 to 1945.