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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 245

Nikolai Sergeev dance notations and music scores for ballets


Dance notations of ballets from the Mariinsky Imperial Ballet repertory, created by Nikolai Sergeev and his assistants, music scores for ballets and operas, programs, photographs and designs for ballets.


  • Creation: 1888-1944
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1902-1931

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in Russian, French and English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use.


20 linear feet (33 boxes)

Includes notations of ballets and dances from operas with music scores, programs of Mariinsky Ballet performances, synopses of ballets, photographs of dancers, costume and scene designs for ballets, répétiteurs on microfilm, and dance notation manuals.

Biographical / Historical

Nikolai Grigor´evich Sergeev [Николай Григорьевич Сергеев] was a dancer, choreographer, and régisseur of the Mariinsky Ballet from 1894 to 1918. He developed interest in dance notation around 1897, when he served as an assistant to choreographer Alexander Gorskii, who was also teacher of the theory and notation of dance at the Theatre school. Gorski had revised the system created by another Theatre school teacher, Vladimir Stepanov, in 1891. The system was used for notations of ballets from the repertory of the Mariinsky Ballet undertaken by the Directorate of the Imperial Theatres and supervised by Sergeev. When he left Russia after the October revolution, Sergeev brought the notations with him to the West. He used them between 1921 and 1951 to restage Russian ballets for European companies.


Arranged into the following series:

  1. I. Dance notations and music scores
  2. II. Materials related to ballets
  3. III. Additional material

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

69M-85. Purchased from C. and I.K. Fletcher, Ltd. 22 Buckingham Gate, London S.W. 1, England with the F.E. Chase Fund and Duplicate fund, 1969; received: 1969 November.

Formerly owned by Mona Inglesby, 9 Thurloe Close, London, S.W.7.

Existence and Location of Copies

A number of notations from this collection are available on microfilm.

Processing Information

Processed by: Irina Klyagin and Jonathan Gray

The collection was originally catalogued by Suzanne Nicole Howard Currier Park in July of 1970. The material is kept in the order of the original cataloging.

Sergeev, Nikolai, 1876-1951. Nikolai Sergeev dance notations and music scores for ballets, 1888-1944: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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