Skip to main content

Workers Dance League event program and photograph

Identifier: NA-0012-01


Two items, a snapshot and an event program, related to a performance of the Red Dancers at the Workers Dance League's First Workers' Dance Spartakiade, held at The New School in 1933.


  • 1933



2 Items

Language of Materials


Scope and Content of Collection

Consists of one illustrated program for a dance competition, the First Workers' Dance Spartakiade, held at The New School on June 4, 1933 and one small black and white snapshot of the Red Dancers. Dance troupes mentioned in the printed program include the International Workers' Order Dance Group, the ARTEF (Workers Theatrical Alliance) Dance Group, the Needle Trade Workers Industrial Union Dance Group, the New Dance Group, Rebel Arts Dance Group, Rebel Dancers-Newark, Red Dancers, and Nature Friends Dance Group.

Janet Gold, mother of donor Madeleine Shapiro, is depicted on the far left in the snapshot and performed with the Red Dancers in this event. None of the other dancers are identified.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Please contact for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from The New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Historical Note

The Workers Dance League was formed in the Bronx in 1932 at a May Day event sponsored by The Daily Worker, a Communist-affiliated newspaper. The First Workers' Dance Spartakiade would have coincided with the first anniversary of the group. The use of "spartakiade" to describe the Workers Dance League-sponsored event at The New School is a reference to the competitive nature of the dance program; this Soviet term was usually employed for sports or gymnastics competitions.

The Red Dancers were led by Edith Segal, who also taught dance at Camp Kinderland in the Catskills resort region of New York that served Jewish New Yorkers in the early to mid-twentieth century. According to the dance program, the Red Dancers were "the first adult dance group to be organized in the revolutionary movement," with fifty members. The troupe's address is listed as 77 Fifth Avenue in care of secretary Syd Brohinsky. This address, only three blocks from The New School's 66 West 12th Street building, is also associated with the Dance Group of the Needle Trades Workers Industrial Union.

More background on culturally Jewish Communist-oriented modern dance troupes in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s will be found in Julia Foulkes's article for American Jewish History (88, 2), "Angels "Rewolt!": Jewish Women in Modern Dance in the 1930s."

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Included in transfer of office records from Mannes College Contemporary Music Ensemble, 2016. Ensemble director Madeleine Shapiro is the daughter of one of the dancers.

Related Materials

The papers of the Red Dancers' founder, Edith Segal, are held by the New York Public Library's Jerome Robbins Dance Division.

Guide to the Workers Dance League event program and photograph
New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
February 6, 2019
Language of description
Script of description