This collection comprises original documentary and photographic material relating to Vera Volkova's personal life, her early career, and her work as a ballet teacher and artistic adviser in London (c. 1941-50); in Copenhagen, at the Royal Danish Ballet (1951-75); also as a guest teacher in a number of schools and ballet companies around the world (1951-75). Photographic prints depict Volkova at various stages of her life, and teaching in a number of countries including the U.S.S.R, Hungary, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, France, South Africa, Canada, The United States, and England. There are photographs of Volkova’s most celebrated pupils, some inscribed to her personally.
The Collection includes exhibition research and material compiled by her student and later associate, Audrey Harman between c. 1984-86: this comprises scrapbooks, biographical notes on Volkova’s life, and Harman’s extensive notes on Volkova’s classroom exercises, teaching, and lesson plans (1944-1955). These notebooks also contain a few notes on classes taught by Ninette de Valois, Ailne Phillips, Nadine Nicolaeva-Legat, David Lichine, Igor Schwezov [Schwezoff], Tamara Karsavina and Lubov Tchernicheva (Refer also to the Audrey Harman Collection RBS/AH). There is some correspondence between Hugh Finch Williams and Merle Park regarding Williams’ donation of the Vera Volkova Collection to The Royal Ballet School (1984); also between Audrey Harman and David Arkell regarding Volkova’s teaching (1986 and 1995). Also Arkell’s audio-recorded interview with Volkova, marked: St Petersburg-Kharkov return .
Includes an annotated manuscript, in two parts, of Hugh Finch Williams', Vera Volkova: a Biography. It also includes a letter from Finch Williams to Harman thanking her for her comments on his manuscript (20 October 1978).
Material compiled by Finch Williams includes a series of photocopied letters between Volkova and her mother and sister (the original documents are thought to have been destroyed). Also, original letters written by Volkova to Finch Willams (1950-72), and correspondence between Volkova and a number of recipients, including Lucia Chase and the Ballet Theatre Foundation, Peggy [van Praagh], Leonide Massine, Audrey Harman, Natalia Roslavleva and others.
There are a large number of notebooks and loose-leaf sheets, handwritten by Volkova (1949-74). These contain her personal notes on classwork exercises, and are written in a mixture of English, French, Russian and Danish.
The collection also contains newscuttings about The Royal Danish Ballet (predominantly from the 1960s); various notes including 'The Danish Ballet and Its Background'; official letters from the Registration for Employment Order (1941) and the London Metropolian Borough of Wandworth, regarding Civil Defence Duties (1942); a reference letter from the Legat School of Dancing (undated); also extracts from the private memoirs of Peggy Ingrams (née Ayers), containing references to Volkova, during the period 1945 to c. 1955.
Handwritten rehearsal notes on sections of ballet repertoire, including Paquita (undated) and Flames of Paris (1964). A series of excerpts from music scores for a number of ballets and ballet variations, some with annotations in an unidentified hand. These include the grand pas de deux from Don Quixote by Minkus; Casse-Noisette by P. Tchaikovsky (inscribed ‘Goncharov’, published by P. Jurgenson , Moscow); Grande valse brillante and other music by F. Chopin; Raymonda by A. Glazunov; the pas de deux from La Esmeralda; Le Lac des cygnes and The Sleeping Princess by P. Tchaikovsky; Giselle by A. Adam; Arabesque Valsante by M. Levitzki; Coppélia by L. Delibes; also Le Corsaire with additional music by P. Tchaikovsky (Alexander Gorsky revival, the Bolshoi Ballet, 1912).