NDAI: Joan Denise Moriarty

Reference Code: IE 2135 N63
Title: The Joan Denise Moriarty Collection
Date of Creation: 2012
Extent and Medium: 15 items (15 files)

Download PDF catalogue here



Name of Creator(s): Fleischmann, Dr Ruth; and Foley, Dr Catherine.

Administrative History: The year 2012 marked the centenary of the birth and the 20th anniversary of the death of Joan Denise Moriarty (c. 1912-1992), a pioneer who throughout her life strived to give the art of dance a definitive place in the Irish culture.  She founded the Cork Ballet Company (1947-1993) and two professional touring companies, Irish Theatre Ballet (1959-1964) and Irish National Ballet (1973-1989).  She also established a number of ballet schools throughout Munster and choreographed over 100 ballets, including the iconic The Playboy of the Western World (1978).

To celebrate Moriarty’s unique and unparalleled contribution to the art of ballet in Ireland, a series of events were organized throughout the country during 2012.  The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance participated in these celebrations in November 2012 by organizing a seminar, The Contribution of Joan Denise Moriarty to Ballet in Ireland, and by hosting an exhibition, The Music for the Ballet, which documented Moriarty’s role in commissioning new music for her ballets from Irish composers.  At the official opening of the exhibition, the launching of Joan Denise Moriarty: Ireland’s First Lady of Dance, edited by Ruth Fleischmann, also took place.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: Donated by Dr Ruth Fleischmann and Dr Catherine Foley to the National Dance Archive of Ireland on 5 December 2012.


Content and Structure 

Scope and Content: The collection comprises a copy of Joan Denise Moriarty: Ireland’s First Lady of Dance, photographs taken during its launch, and information on the seminar, book launch and exhibition organized in the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in November 2012 to mark Moriarty’s centenary celebrations.

System of Arrangement: The documents have been arranged into two series according to their form.


Conditions of Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access: Unrestricted access to all items.

Conditions Governing Reproduction: Standard copyright regulations apply to all items.  For photocopying or reproducing material, please consult with the staff.

Language/ Scripts of Material: English.


Allied Materials 

Related Units of Description: The papers of Joan Denise Moriarty, which constitute the largest historical ballet collection in Ireland, have been donated to Cork City Library.

Further material relating to Joan Denise Moriarty in the National Dance Archive of Ireland can be found in the following collections: N4 (Patricia Crosbie); N6 (Victoria O’Brien); N24 (Conversations from the Archive); N25 (Gerard O’Meara); N47 (Terry and Nancy Bowler); N52 (Domy Reiter-Soffer); and N55 (Ruth Fleischmann).


© Copyright 2021 Special Collections Library, University of Limerick