Skip to main content

Eva Anderson's Baltimore Dance Theater Collection

Identifier: R0163-BDT

  • Staff Only
  • Place requests at folder level.

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the work of Eva Anderson as the director of the Baltimore Dance Theater and of Eva Anderson Dancers Ltd., including her efforts managing the non-profit, planning performances, and publicizing the dance concerts. It contains a significant amount of organizational records, photographs, ephemera, posters, and audiovisual materials documenting dancers and dance theater performances such as “Giant Steps,” “Dreams,” “Clowns,” “Ictus,” “Cakewalk,” and many others. One well represented dance in the collection, “The Elephant,” was originally choreographed and performed for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. in the 1990s.

The collection contains textual materials such as news clippings, magazine articles, pamphlets, ephemera, and records documenting the work of the non-profit and related planning materials. Other formats present in the collection include photographs, posters, performance ephemera, materials from albums/scrapbooks such as photographs and news clippings documenting the activities of the dancers and the organization, music recordings used by the dance theater, and video recordings documenting their performances. This collection contains digital and oversize items.


  • circa 1970-2016



Materials are in English

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. One file from the Administrative Materials series is restricted until 2068 due to sensitive information. The restricted file is indicated in the collection inventory.

This collection contains audiovisual and digital materials that may need further processing or special equipment to allow use. Gloves are recommended when handling photographic material.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that they own copyright, the donor has assigned the copyright of this collection to the University Foundation. However, copyright for some items in this collection may be held by their respective creators.

Biographical Note

Eva Anderson (b. 1933 – d. 2017) was the artistic director of Eva Anderson Dancers, Ltd., formerly known as Baltimore Dance Theatre. Ms. Anderson was born as Eva Marilyn Jones on March 8, 1933 in Chester, South Carolina. She was the oldest of three children born to Gwyndolyn Elson, a professor at Johnson C. Smith University, and Joseph Thomas Jones, a Presbyterian minister. At the age of twenty, she married Hyde Humber “Buddy” Anderson, with whom she had three children in their 59 years of marriage.

Ms. Anderson attended the Mather Academy and Johnson C. Smith University, eventually moving on to Bard College on a full dance scholarship. At Bard, she studied under Zoe Warren – a follower of Martha Graham. Anderson completed her B.A. in dance at Adelphi University in New York as well as an M.A. in Education. While in New York, she studied modern dance with followers of Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, and Merce Cunningham and studied ballet with teachers associated with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre. She also studied African dance with Nigerian dancer and drummer Olatunji. During her years in New York, she danced with the eponymous Eva Jones Dance Company, Movement, Inc. (also founded by Ms. Anderson), the Universal Dancers, and the Adelphi Dance Theatre.

Anderson moved to Columbia, Maryland in 1973 and in 1976 joined the Baltimore Dance Theatre as a teacher. She soon became Assistant Director of the Company and, in 1977, assumed the role of Artistic Director. As Artistic Director, Anderson taught modern, ballet, and African dance to company members and apprentices and developed over sixty works of choreography as part of the company’s repertoire. In addition to her work with Eva Anderson Dancers, Ms. Anderson taught dance at Adelphi University, Goucher College, and Howard County Community College. She also choreographed the dance scenes in the Baltimore-based Barry Levinson film, “Avalon”. She was awarded the Maryland State Choreographers Fellowship in 1982 and 1986 and was inducted into the Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007 for her contribution to the arts. Ms. Anderson died at her home in Columbia, Maryland on October 7, 2017.

Historical Note

The Baltimore Dance Theatre was established in 1975 by dancers Orville Johnson and Maria Broom. The company was originally developed as a community arts program for students at Dunbar High School. In 1977, Eva Anderson took over the role of Artistic Director from Orville Johnson. In 1981, the company was incorporated as the non-profit Eva Anderson Dancers, Ltd. The company subsequently moved from Baltimore to Columbia, Maryland, where it took up residency at the Howard County Arts Council. The company performed at the Howard County Arts Council as well as at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The company toured domestically throughout Maryland as well as in Virginia, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and toured internationally to Germany, Austria, and Italy.

The mission of Eva Anderson Dancers, Ltd. was to create and perpetuate American dance with a special emphasis African-American dance forms. The company’s repertoire included classical modern, classical ballet and classical African-American dance forms. It performed choreography by Eva Anderson and a variety of choreographers and composers. Members of the company took part in residencies in schools and taught public classes. Eva Anderson Dancers, Ltd. offered apprenticeship training for young professionals and developed performance opportunities for professional dance artists in Maryland.

This historical note is taken, in part, from the Eva Anderson Dancers Ltd. 2004-2005 season program.


17.63 Linear feet (16 containers)


Eva Anderson was the artistic director of the Baltimore Dance Theater, which later became Eva Anderson Dancers, Ltd. Anderson’s choreography aimed to perpetuate American dance with a special emphasis African-American dance forms. The Dance Theater performed primarily in Baltimore and the Maryland area, but also traveled around the U.S. and the world. One of Anderson’s dances, “The Elephant,” was originally performed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. This collection consists of organizational records that document Anderson’s management of the Baltimore Dance Theater, her work planning performances and choreography, and publicizing the non-profit’s activities.


Collection is organized into five series:

  • Administrative Materials
  • Performance and Planning Materials
  • Publicity and Clippings
  • Photographs, Scrapbooks, and Posters
  • Audiovisual Materials

Custodial History

The collection was donated to the University of Baltimore Foundation by Eva Anderson on August 15, 2017.


Items weeded from the collection include duplicate facsimiles of materials, items unrelated to the scope of the Baltimore Dance Theater's activities, items not within the collection policy of the Special Collections and Archives, and sensitive items containing personally identifiable information.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Laura Bell and Deyane Moses in 2018.

Processing Note

During processing, the albums/scrapbooks were disassembled to allow access, preservation, and digitization of materials. The original order of their content was maintained within the folders and should be handled with care.

Finding aid for the Eva Anderson's Baltimore Dance Theater Collection
Finding aid prepared by Laura Bell and Deyane Moses (2018).
December 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Baltimore Studies Archives Repository

H. Mebane Turner Learning Commons, Room 104
1415 Maryland Avenue
Baltimore Maryland 21201 USA