Louise Lightfoot Collection: inventory

The Louise Lightfoot collection is one of a large number of unique collections held by the Music Archive of Monash University (MAMU), located at 4th floor of the Menzies Building, at the Monash Clayton Campus, rooms 404, 406, 408 and 410. This was the personal collection of Louise Lightfoot (1902-1979 ), who was an Australian dancer, choreographer and impresario. In the 1930s, she shifted her interest in early modern dance to Indian classical dance, which she studied and promoted extensively, including by touring Indian artists. The collection contains costumes, masks and dance headdresses, dance props, films, recordings (on reel to reel tape, cassette and vinyl), program brochures, scripts, contracts, letters, posters, advertisements, newspaper clippings, reports, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, and Lightfoot’s personal notes, journal issues and books. The oldest item is a book Monipurio Norton (Manipuri Dance) by Autambapu Sharma, written in Old Bengali in 1759. The collection is significant because it represents a rare, early instance of direct and sustained Australian engagement with Asian culture, specifically, Lightfoot’s pre- and post-war engagement with various traditions of Indian dance and performance culture. Through Lightfoot’s patronage of Indian kathakali dancer, Shivaram, she introduced Australian audiences to Indian classical dance and music during tours she organised and sponsored in 1947, 1949-50 and 1957. Lightfoot even created her own Indian-themed ballet for Shivaram’s 1949 tour which was presented at the Australian National Theatre. The materials in the collection provide unique insight into Lightfoot’s contribution to cross-cultural understanding in Australia in that period and have already been used for multiple research projects. Some of the collection items have profound historical significance, for example the 78rpm record of speeches by Mahatma Gandhi, with Albert Einstein, and written comments by Eleanor Roosevelt on the cover. The collection consists of 17 Archive Boxes of different dimensions containing costumes, props, scrapbooks, programs, scripts, contracts, photos, posters, audio recordings, press clippings and letters. Most items in the collection are dated between 1920 and 1976. These are all listed in detail in the collection inventory.<div><br></div><div>256 p.</div><div><br></div><div>Copyright. Monash University<br></div><div>Type: text | inventory | collection</div>