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Monica Moseley ’64

A picture of Monica Moseley

Dancer, choreographer, and historian Monica Moseley ’64 died on January 6, 2010, in New York.

Monica earned a BA in art and literature from Reed. Drawn to structure, she initially considered a career in architecture or law, but classes in literature, humanities, and art—with Prof. Lloyd Reynolds [English & art 1929–69]—altered her course. Prof. Reynolds supervised her thesis, "Two Poems of the Air," a calligraphy project she created based on poems by Reed poet-in-residence James Dickey [1962–64].

After graduation, Monica went to New York, working in the editorial departments of Mademoiselle and Dance Magazine. For several years, she worked on museum and trade color printing. “As lavishly surrounded by dance in New York, as I had been by books at Reed, I began again to study dance technique, and finally to perform.” She performed professionally for 10 years with Meredith Monk/The House. She trained in modern dance at the New Dance Group Studio, the Alvin Ailey Studio, and the Merce Cunningham Studio, and studied with Robert Joffrey's American Ballet Center.

In 1973, she created a mixed media work, “Kelso, Washington,” which combined a Japanese fable presented in calligraphy and a performance of theatre and dance. She also founded Moseley and McLaren booksellers in Delhi, New York, in 1977. (“Never having achieved one clear vision of vocation, I alternate between dancing and books.”)

Monica later earned an MS in library science from Columbia University and was assistant curator of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division for the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts for more than 20 years. “Reed left me with a deep impression of the importance of primary sources—the understanding that in any kind of research you must go to great lengths to look at the original and to understand it.”

In retirement she worked on a number of dance projects that included the 2006 documentary Lucinda Childs.

Colleagues stated: “She was a beloved and valued member of the dance division, who would generously share her great knowledge and insight about dance and dance archives with staff members and the public. She is greatly missed.”

An interview with Monica in 2002 in archived here.

The Monica Moseley papers, New York Public Library.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2010

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