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Deidre Sklar papers

Identifier: Ms-0510

Content Description

The bulk of the Deidre Sklar papers span the years 1984-1989, the time she was conducting field research at Tortugas, New Mexico. Background research files she collected include much historical data, the bulk dating from the 1880s forward. The materials have been divided into four series: Research files, Photographs, Audiovisual materials, and Maps. The research files contain materials gathered for her dissertation, book, and other publications and presentations on the dance traditions of Tortugas, New Mexico. The photographs contain original images made by Sklar and others, as well as historical images gathered from various archival institutions. The audiovisual materials include audio cassettes, VHS video tapes and CDs of the Tortugas fiesta, as well as other events and performances related to Pueblo and Hispanic dance traditions in New Mexico and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. The audio cassettes also include oral history interviews with participants in the Tortugas fiesta. Maps are mainly of New Mexico, Doña Ana County and the Tortugas area.

Research files include extensive photocopies of published materials regarding Tortugas, New Mexico. The original arrangement of this material has been maintained, but each folder has been organized chronologically. The research files also include observation and analysis notes, interview notes, collected mementos, maps, and communication with other scholars. Also included are syllabi from various dance courses she and others taught, her dissertation, content from her web page, and copies of some of her articles, lectures and papers pertaining to Tortugas.

The photographs include negatives, contact sheets, prints and slides taken of the Tortugas fiesta over several years. They are arranged chronologically. VHS tapes taken at the Tortugas fiesta and at other locations are included. They are arranged chronologically. Audio tapes include field recordings at the Tortugas fiesta and interviews of some of the participants. The audio tapes have been digitized for improved access and preservation. Also included are copies of photographs from other sources that were considered for or used in the dissertation, book, articles and website.


  • Majority of material found within 1984-2004 and undated

Biographical / Historical

Deidre Sklar was born 1944 and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She received her B.A. in drama (1966) from Antioch College and did graduate work in theater directing at Brandeis University. She spent a year and a half (1967-1968) studying with Etienne Decroux at his Ecole de Mime Corporeal in Paris and then was an actor and mime in Open Theatre, La Mama Plexus and with the Mark Epstein Mime Troupe in New York City. In 1972, she was hired by the College of Santa Fe to teach corporeal mime. In Santa Fe, through 1979, she performed, trained actors, and directed plays, including an adaptation of a Pablita Velarde story for Santa Clara Pueblo. During this time, she became interested in Southwestern Pueblo dance performances and for seven years she attended as many as possible. She received her M.A. in dance ethnology from UCLA in 1983 and then went to New York University where she obtained her Ph.D. in performance studies in 1991. Since 1991, she has taught about ritual and dance performance, embodiment and performance theory, as a visiting, adjunct and assistant professor at universities in New York City, New Mexico, California, Texas and Ohio, including eight years at the University of California, Irvine. She has written numerous articles and book chapters. She has given lectures and papers throughout the United States. She received the “Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship in Dance” Award in 2014 from the Congress in Research in Dance.


7.75 Linear Feet (8 Hollinger boxes, 2 oversize flat boxes and 1 Paige box)

Language of Materials



The Deidre Sklar papers document the research of a dance ethnologist, focusing on the cultural, religious and dance traditions of the town of Tortugas, New Mexico. The collection includes extensive background research, original writings, observation notes, analysis, interview notes, images, audiovisual material, maps and correspondence. The materials document the annual fiesta held at Tortugas in honor of the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, December 12.

Related Materials

Katherine D. Stoes papers. Ms 0208. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.

Luke Lyon papers. Ms 0511. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.

Condition Description


Processing Information

This collection was processed by Terry Reynolds, 2016-2017.
Guide to the Deidre Sklar papers
Finding aid by Terry Reynolds and Jennifer Chavez
June 27, 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA