Caped crusaders are not the only ones who don masks as a career choice. A recent show and tell in the Music Division curated by the Music Division’s Elizabeth Aldrich, with Dance Heritage Fellows Nicole Topich and Kirsten Wilkinson, showcased items from special collections in dance. This mask was used by Armgard von Bardeleben (1940-2012) in her reconstruction of expressionist dancer/choreographer Mary Wigman’s Hexentanz (1913). Von Bardelben was once a dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, and spent half a century teaching her mentor’s techniques.
More colorful but less evocative are the boxes of dental impression molds that mysteriously appeared with the Marge Champion collection, which Nicole Topich wrote about here. The plastic objects have a design elegance that has little to do with dance, but they provide a segue to an unusual news item a colleague brought to my attention. Investigators in Vienna suspect a man of breaking into the graves of composers Johann Strauss and Johannes Brahms and stealing their teeth. Rest assured that the Music Division’s collections are secure from would-be graverobbers.