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Springfield College Records: Dancers and Exhibition Dancers (RG 179)

A photograph of Springfield College's SC Dancers performing during an exhibition. There are two couples. They are dressed in 1950s clothing and look to be dancing a sock hop type dance. There are spectators seated on bleachers watching the show behind them.

Springfield College Dancers and Springfield College Exhibition Dancers

The Springfield College Dancers and Exhibition Dancers are co-education dance groups. The two names seemed to have been used interchangeably at various times, so their exact relationship and history is hard to determine. Both started in the early 1970’s. The SC Exhibition Dancers is first listed in the Homeshow/exhibition programs in 1974-1975. Louis J. Ampolo is listed as its director, a position he held until the mid-1980s. SC Dancers and SC Exhibition Dancers are both listed as distinct groups to join for the first time in the student handbooks in 1977-1978. After 1981 only SC Dancers is listed in the handbooks, but SC Exhibition Dancers is still used in the Homeshow/exhibition programs until the late 1980s. It may be that the term “exhibition” is only used with SC Dancers when they perform in the Homeshow after this time.

In the 1977-1978 handbook, the SC Exhibition Dancers is listed as a group that performs dance routines, such as the “twist, “Charleston”, and “hoe down”. Its primary function was to perform along with the SC Exhibition Gymnastics Team, though it appears from the records that they did perform and tour on their own. The highlight of the season was the annual Exhibition Homeshow. SC Dancers is listed as “a group, is an organization of male and female students from throughout the College community interested in performing, improving and perpetuating dance on Campus.” This basic definition and function appears to continue to this day.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Materials in this collection include newspaper clippings, programs, performance scripts (including note cards), correspondence, memorandums, flyers, programs, schedules, rosters from performances, photographic prints, slides, and films having to do with the SC Exhibition Dancers. Materials date from the early 1970s through 2000, with the bulk of the materials coming from the seventies. There are lists of dances performed, lists of dancers with dance assignments (mostly from the seventies), some correspondence that praises the performances, a set of directions for various dances used (including some that were taught at workshops by the director Lou Ampolo), and some handwritten scripts from shows that describes the dances that were performed. There are also programs from various shows (again, mostly from the seventies) including a performance at a MAHPER (the Massachusetts Association Health, Physical Education and Recreation) convention in 1977. There are also many photographs in the collection. Most are of performances, including a series of various dances from the mid-seventies, but there are also some photographs of Lou Ampolo and some group photographs of the dancers.