A New Digital Archive for Oakland Ballet Company

A New Digital Archive for Oakland Ballet Company

Oakland Ballet Company and the Ronn Guidi Foundation have partnered with ChromaDiverse, a 501c3 non-profit that offers dance companies a new powerful tool, a Digital Vault. It brings rare, public, worldwide digital access to the internationally acclaimed dance company’s archive of photos, videos, programs, posters, and historical documents.

At the core of the OBC Legacy Project, is ChromaDiverse’s proprietary Digital Vault, a cloud-based digital asset management system developed specifically for dance companies by ChromaDiverse, based in San Francisco it is committed to protecting the legacy of performing arts organizations. This Digital Vault places OBC’s history at the user’s fingertips and makes artifacts tucked away in closets and file boxes easy to search and find. Not to mention it can be used for marketing, public relations, and monetization.

Ron Thiele, who has taken over the Guidi Foundation’s mission to preserve OBC’s legacy, reached out to Judy Tyrus, founder and CEO of ChromaDiverse, to seek her guidance on how to organize and make the OBC collection digitally accessible. After learning of the cloud-based digital asset management system developed by her company, Thiele realized he found a solution to meet one of the many challenges that Oakland Ballet is facing in preserving its history. 

Tyrus started her own dance career with OBC’s founder, Ronn Guidi, in her hometown of Richmond, California, and then followed him to Oakland to dance with the company. Of the collaboration with the Guidi Foundation and OBC, Tyrus said, “This project is a full-circle moment for me — to give back to Oakland Ballet, a beacon in the field of dance, and caring for this incredible archive is of utmost importance to me. Preserving the legacy is key, but equally important is to provide access to the materials, safely and easily.”

It is usually unaffordable for most dance companies to employ a full-time archivist. But ChromaDiverse’s Digital Vault system is a game changer, it makes archiving more efficient, less daunting, and its lightning-speed searchability is invaluable. Imogen Smith, Director of Archiving and Preservation at Dance/USA is impressed by ChromaDiverse’s system and anticipates “it will make the process of preserving and protecting history easier, cost-effective, and more widespread.”

Thiele says of the OBC Legacy Project, “ChromaDiverse knows and understands dance. They also know archives. In collaborating with them, the Ronn Guidi Foundation for Dance will be able to focus on looking back — and acting forward.” In the Spring of 2023, over one hundred assets from iconic works that OBC performed from 1965 to the present will be available to view in OBC’s Digital Vault.

Tyrus stated, “As a living archive, the stories held in these materials are valuable and incomparable to any other stories in the world. That is why at ChromaDiverse we like to say, ‘the past is always present, and the present is always our future.’”

To learn more and donate to the OBC Legacy project, please go to: Oakland Ballet Company Legacy Project – ChromaDiverse

ChromaDiverse is a non-profit organization that helps dance companies preserve, access, and leverage their archives and historic legacies. To learn more visit www.chromadiverse.org

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