Alma Concepción Collection

Princeton University Library is pleased to announce the acquisition by donation of the papers of Puerto Rican dancer, educator, choreographer, and independent scholar Alma Concepción. Concepción was first soloist of Ballets de San Juan, a member of the Carmen Amaya Company, Antonio´s Ballets de Madrid, and the Taller de Histriones mime company in Puerto Rico. She was the founder of Taller de Danza, a children’s movement and dance community organization based in Trenton, New Jersey. She was instructor of Spanish dance and ballet at the Princeton Ballet School and the Ballet Hispánico of New York, as well as Visiting Faculty at Fordham, Princeton, and Rutgers University. She has also been a long time and dedicated contributor to People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos, a grassroots literature program dedicated primarily to underserved communities.

September 2023 UPDATE: Archivo de Alma Concepción, 1939-2021 is now open for research.

Alma Concepción as Erzulí. Atibón-Ogú-Erzulí. 1979

The bulk of the collection consists of 42 chronologically and thematically organized albums that document Concepción’s life from her childhood in New York and Puerto Rico to her career as an artist in the performing arts and as an independent scholar. The albums contain hundreds of clippings, photographs, programs, letters, and posters. They extensively document the history of performing arts in Puerto Rico from 1950 to the early 1980s and shed light into other cultural aspects of contemporary Puerto Rican life in the island and its diaspora in the United States.

Alma Concepción Collection, Album #2

Many of the materials in the collection reference Ballets de San de Juan (co-directed by Ana García and Gilda Navarra), Taller de Histriones (directed by Gilda Navarra), as well as numerous Puerto Rican dancers. There are references to choreographers such as George Balanchine; dancers Alicia Alonso, Antonio Ruiz, Carmen Amaya, Frederick Franklin, María Tallfchief, Jacques d’Amboise; Puerto Rican musicians such as the Figueroa Family, Jack Delano, Héctor Campos Parsi, Amaury Veray, Ernesto Cordero; and visual artists Lorenzo Homar, Rafael Tufiño, and Antonio Martorell.

Alma, 1983. Screen print by Puerto Rican printmaker Lorenzo Homar in tribute to Alma Concepción. Lorenzo Homar Collection

The Alma Concepción Collection will open to the public for consultation and research in 2023 upon completion of cataloging and preservation measures.

September 2023 UPDATE: Archivo de Alma Concepción, 1939-2021 is now open for research.

Alma Concepción with students at the Ballet Hispánico of New York

Selected articles by Alma Concepción: