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Virginia Tanner Papers

Identifier: MSS 0081

Scope and Contents

The Virginia Tanner Papers date from 1945 to 1979 and contain flyers, brochures, teaching notes, student papers, workshop materials, correspondence, photographs, news clippings, motion picture films and videotapes.


  • 1945 - 1979


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

Virginia Tanner (1915-1979) was a pioneer in children's dance education. She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and spent most of her life there, working with children and young modern dancers.

Tanner began dancing as a young child. She studied with Doris Humphrey in the 1930s and in 1938 accepted a scholarship to study dance at the Humphrey-Weidman School in New York. She returned to Salt Lake City in 1941 to graduate from the University of Utah, the institution with which she was associated for the remainder of her life.

Tanner founded the Children's Dance Theatre (CDT) in Salt Lake City in 1949. She was instrumental in the formation of the Repertory Dance Theatre in 1966, a Salt Lake City-based modern dance company. In the early 1970s, Tanner helped develop a national program for dance education through the National Endowment for the Arts Artists in the Schools program.

Tanner was beloved by her students and respected by her professional peers. Jose Limon called her "the world's master children's dance teacher," and went on to state, "there isn't any place, and I include New York, London, Paris, Moscow, that has anyone who can touch her genius for teaching children the exciting purity in the dancing arts."


7.60 Linear Feet (11 boxes)

Language of Materials



Virginia Tanner (1915-1979) was a pioneer in children's dance education. The Virginia Tanner Papers date from 1945 to 1979 and contain flyers, brochures, teaching notes, student papers, workshop materials, correspondence, photographs, motion picture films and videotapes.

Arrangement Note

Collection is arranged in 4 series: 1. Ephemera, writings, biographical material and other material; 2. Workshop and teaching materials; 3. Scrapbooks, photographs, and clippings; and 4. Audiovisual materials

Method of Acquisition

Gift of Virginia Tanner's husband, Robert Bruce Bennett, 1985 and 1988.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed by Archives staff.

Virginia Tanner Papers
Archives staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US