Austin History Center

Austin Ballet Theatre Records

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Austin Ballet Theatre
Title: Austin Ballet Theatre Records
Inclusive Dates: 1972-1986
Abstract: The Austin Ballet Theatre was founded in 1972 as a non-profit repertory company and dancer's school. It arranged professional performances around Austin and established a school for children and adults to learn various dance methods. The Austin Ballet Theatre records include administrative and financial records, correspondence, printed promotional material such as programs, flyers, and posters and photographic material.
Identification: AR.1999.008
Quantity: 3.25 linear feet, 8 boxes (7 document boxes, 2 oversized boxes)
Location: Archives stacks, Oversized archives, Outer Vault
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe St., PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Administrative History

Founded in 1972 by Stanley Hall, formerly of the Sadler's Wells (now the Royal Ballet) School and Les Ballets de Paris, the Austin Ballet Theatre was as a non-profit repertory company and dance school. Hall settled in Austin in 1968, where he taught ballet at the University of Texas. From 1968 to 1972, he served as Artistic Director of the Austin Civic Ballet (now Ballet Austin).

In the spring of 1972, Hall and other prominent members of the Austin ballet community founded the Austin Ballet Theatre because of perceived difficulties with the institutional framework of the Austin Civic Ballet. The Austin Ballet Theatre quickly established the concept of a repertory company for Austin. With frequent performances, affordable ticket prices, and a constantly evolving body of dance works, the Austin Ballet Theatre aimed to serve a dual purpose: providing maximum performing opportunities for dancers interested in professional careers, and building a broad and knowledgeable dance audience for Austin.

The Austin Ballet Theatre's first performances were free public performances in Zilker Park's Hillside Theatre. The Austin Ballet Theatre also founded and operated the Dancer's School, which provided lessons for children and adults in ballet, jazz, tap, and modern dance. In October 1973, the company began giving monthly performances at the Armadillo World Headquarters on Barton Springs Road in South Austin. This venue was demolished in 1980. The uniqueness of a ballet company performing in a well-known Austin "honky tonk" venue contributed to the reputation of the Austin Theatre Ballet as a pioneer in the introduction of ballet to mainstream Austin culture. After the closure of the Armadillo World Headquarters, the Austin Ballet Theatre administration and Dancer's School relocated to new premises on West 5th Street, while performances were held at a variety of venues around the city.

The Austin Ballet Theatre enjoyed tremendous early success and support in the Austin community despite its rivalry with the Austin Civic Ballet. Self-support was generated through box-office receipts and city support until 1979, when fund-raising efforts were initiated to continue operation "in the black." However, by 1983, the company was suffering from a decline in enrollment at the Dancer's School, its primary source of dancers and financial stability. The 1984-5 season was Austin Ballet's Theatre's final season, and the company formally disbanded in 1986, amidst the turbulent economic troubles of the 1980s.

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the activities of the Austin Ballet Theatre Company (ABT) from 1972 until 1986. It is divided into two series, ABT Repertory Company (1972-89) and the Dancers' School (1975-87) and consists of administrative and financial records, correspondence, printed promotional material such as programs, flyers, posters, and news clippings and photographic material including photographs, slides and negatives.

The first series, ABT Repertory Company (1972-89), contains 5 subseries. The first, Administrative Records (1974-1986), contains organizational material such as a lists of board members, bylaws, dancer biographies, studio rental schedules, city contracts, including papers filed with the City of Austin requesting use of public spaces, such as Zilker Park. The second subseries, Financial Records (1973-1986, undated), consists almost entirely of tax documents. There are also records of monthly expenditures and those from the Texas Employment Commission. The third subseries Promotional and Marketing Materials (1972-1989) consists of posters, programs and printed material such as newspaper clippings, and material documenting the ABT at the Armadillo World Headquarters including a booklet from 1977 which documents the 1972 through 1976 performance seasons. The fourth subseries, Scrapbook Material (1972-1985), contains loose material and folders organized by seasons starting with Season one in March, 1972 and ending with Season Fourteen, 1984-1985. Other scrapbook folders document the The Dancers' School, 1980, and the Junior Company, undated. The fifth and final subseries, Photographic Materials (undated), contains numerous 8x10 and 5x7 black and white photographs of dancers performing on stage, and a varied selection of oversized black and white and color photographs which depict various dance performances over the years. There are a few transparencies and negatives included in the collection, and a draft of a broadside poster proof for Season Twelve, 1982-1983.

The second series, ABT Dancers' School (1975-87) consists primarily of attendance records in the form of roll sheets (1976-1985, undated) and employee time sheets (1975-81, undated). Other folders include registration instructions, 1982, visitor/makeup slips, and a notebook and school logs from 1982-83. Time Sheets are for a number of employees each of whom has a dedicated folder and is organized by the individual's name.


The collection is arranged in the following 2 series:
I. ABT Repertory Company
II. Dancer's School


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Hall, Stanley. 1917-94
Valentine, Mary Alice.
Bergquist, Jone.
Austin Ballet Theatre.
Dancers' School.
Austin Civic Ballet.
City of Austin.
Austin Parks and Recreation Department.
Austin (Tex.).
Ballet companies--United States.
Ballet dancers--United States.
Ballet dancing--Study and teaching.
Document Types:
Financial records
Bylaws (administrative records)
Printed Materials
Attendance lists
Schedules (time plans)

Related Material

Austin Files

  • Austin Ballet Theater D0200 (7)

Archives and Manuscripts

  • AR.1998.013 Ballet Austin Records
  • AR.1991.012 Maline McCalla Papers
  • AR.1998.002 Kate Bergquist Papers

General Collection

  • A 792.8097643 AU 1986-1991 long range plan
  • A 792.8097643 AU 1984 Austin Ballet Theatre presentation to Austin Arts Commission, March 5, 1984
  • A 792.809764 A Update : Austin Ballet Theatre
  • A 792.809764 AU 1976 Austin Ballet Theatre
  • A 917.643 TE 1970 Austin Ballet Theatre : souvenir book

Oral History Collection

  • Greg Easley 2012 interview about Austin Ballet Theatre/Stanley Hall - Recording No. 3191


  • View pointe, 1986

Separated Material

A number of tax records and employee earning statements were separated from the collection and recycled because they contained confidential information including social security numbers. Duplicate programs, posters, and other printed materials were also recycled.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

The Austin Ballet Theatre Records were donated to the Austin History Center by Mary Alice Ziegler and ABT employee Mary Alice Valentine.

Preferred Citation

Austin Ballet Theatre Records (AR 1999-008), Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1999/034

Donation Date: April-September, 1999

Processing Information

Original order and folder headings were preserved when they existed.

Finding aid was created and encoded by Virginia Trueheart, Lydia Fletcher and Susan Rittereiser 2012/April.


The records were donated in three installments: April 5, 1999, April 12, 1999, September 11, 1999.

Other Finding Aid


Detailed Description of the Collection

I. ABT Repertory Company, 1972-89, undated

Administrative Records, 1974-1986, undated
Box Folder
1 1 Board of Trustees Member Lists, 1984-85
2 ABT Bylaws, 1985
3 City of Austin Contract, 1985-86
4 Dancer's Biographies, 1984-85
5 Studio Rental Schedule, 1985
6 ABT Correspondence, 1974-86
7 Assorted Administrative Records, 1978-80
8 Assorted Performance Records, 1980-82
Financial Records, 1973-86
Box Folder
1 9-12 Tax Documents, 1982-86, undated
13 Monthly Statements, 1982-86
14 ABT School Earnings/Expenses, 1982-83
15-16 Texas Employment Commission, 1973-85
Promotional and Marketing Materials, 1971-89
Box Folder
2 1 Season Schedules, 1982
2-3 Performances, 1972-89
Box Folder
3 1 Fundraising Material, 1982-86
2 Posters, 1975-78
3-4 Programs, 1971-86
5-6 Newspaper Clippings, 1972-81
7 ABT at the Armadillo, 1972-73
Box Folder
4 1 Media Materials, 1974-80
2 ABT Booklet, 1977
Location FlatFile
qAR 02/19/004 Oversized Promotional Ad, undated
048/058 Poster, undated
Scrapbook Materials, 1972-85
Box Folder
4 3-16 Materials by Season (One-Fourteen), 1972-85
17 First Three Pages, 1973
18 The Dancer's School, 1980
19 The Junior Company, undated
20 Materials from Scrapbook Pocket, 1975-82
Photographic Materials, undated
Box Folder
4 21 Image Transparencies, undated
22-24 Photos, undated
Location ArchivesCollection
Outer Vault B&W Negatives Drawer Photo Negatives, undated
Color Negatives Drawer Slides, undated
Oversized Box Oversized Photographs, undated

II. Dancers' School 1975-1987, undated

Box Folder
5 1-8 Roll Sheets, 1976-82
Box Folder
6 1-2 Roll Sheets, 1984-85, undated
7 Registration Survival Notes, 1982
8 Spiral Notebook, 1986
9 Visitor and Makeup Slips, 1979-81
10 ABT Dancers' School Schedules, 1984-87
Box Folder
7 1-2 Daily School Logs, 1982-83
3-32 Time Sheets by Instructor Name, 1975-81, undated