Finding resources at the Library
Use keyword searching and subject browsing to find materials on your topic. If you cannot find a specific type of dance, try searching for variations in spelling or expanding your search by genre, region, or social context.
To browse world dance subject headings in the Catalogue, try searching by geographic region or type of dance. Below are some examples of subject headings:
- Achi lhamo (Dance)
- Dance -- Africa, Sub-Saharan
- Dance -- Japan
- Dance & other performing arts -- Europe
- Dance, Aboriginal Australian
- Dance companies -- Australia -- New South Wales -- Pictorial works
- Religious dance -- Mexico
- Samba (Dance) -- Brazil
There are many resources available online and some have been included in the list below. These resources are organized by geographic region.
North America (Turtle Island)
In-depth interviews, articles, images, and videos on First Nations, Inuit, and Metis dance traditions.
Indigenous film section on music and dance
Bibliothèque de la danse Vincent-Warren
Digital collection of Québec’s dance heritage from 1900 - present, including videos, photographs, pamphlets, figurines and objects, posters, and prints. Note: To view in English, select the English option on the upper left corner of the website.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Digital Archives
Video and sound recordings featuring Canadian dancers and dancers in Canada
Dance Collection Danse
DCD manages Canada's largest collection of dance artifacts and documents - over 600 portfolios. The Exhibit Series offers in-depth view of some of Canada's most important dance artists. Each digital exhibit contains a large assortment of images, biographical text, videos, recordings, and memorabilia.
National Ballet of Canada: Archives
Archival holdings document the history of the company from 1951 to the present, and include press clippings, programmes, posters, photographs, videos and costumes, as well as materials referring to dance in general, both in Canada and internationally. View Ballet Notes (in PDF), which includes synopsis and articles and photos of the company's repertoire. Provides access to the Virtual Museum, an online gallery featuring items held within the National Ballet Archives.
Oral History Dance Collection
Digital recordings of interviews with dancers, choreographers, teachers and administrators. Part of the Canadian Dance History Project at the University of Victoria.
American Ballet Theatre: Online ballet dictionary
Interactive resource on 170 ballet terms and forms, demonstrated by ABT Company dancers.
Dance Heritage Coalition
DHC is an alliance of institutions holding significant collections of materials documenting the history of dance. Includes access to multiple digital collections and projects. One of their pilot projects, Secure Media Release, is a searchable database of moving images held by dance libraries. Most of these have never been publicly released.
Digital Public Library of America
Digitized images and text, sound recordings, and videos from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions in the United States. Largely American content. Note: Search for danc* as a general topic, by dance type, or by artist.
Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive
Collection of multimedia essays on performances from Jacob's Pillow, America's longest running dance festival. Themes include Tap, Women in Dance, and Dance of African Diaspora.
An Invitation to Dance
Online exhibition on early social dance in America held by the American Antiquarian Society.
Performing Arts Encyclopedia
Explore music, theatre, and dance digital collections at the Library of Congress. Largely American and European content.
Archivo Virtual Artes Escenicas
Spanish archive on contemporary performing arts with a focus on Spanish artists. Access to photos, texts (some translated into English). Videos include dance trailers and artist conversations.
Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC)
A cooperative digital library for resources from and about the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean. dLOC partners retain all rights to their materials and provide access to digitized versions of Caribbean cultural, historical and research materials currently held in archives, libraries, and private collections. Also includes Mexico and other countries outside of South America. Tip: Search by keyword, thematic group (eg. Music & Arts), special collection, or by exhibit.
“ArenaPAL is the UK's largest specialist image library for the performing arts.” View by collection or search for images using keywords.
Dance Video Archive: English Country Dance
Videos of dances from the member organizations of the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS). Features contra dances, English country dances, morris dances, square dances, and historical videos.
The Dancing Master, 1651-1728: An Illustrated Compendium (by Robert M. Keller)
Compendium of all known country dances published in the various editions of The Dancing Master, published by John Playford, Henry Playford and John Young, from 1651-1728 in London. Published by the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) with the English Folk Dance and Song Society, and the New Hampshire Library for Traditional Dance and Music at the University of New Hampshire.
Digital Dance Archives
Links together different dance archive collections. Focuses on over 100 years of British dance. Includes photographs, videos, and artwork.
Meta-archive of cultural heritage with a European focus. The material can be accessed online. Search by keyword and filter for images, videos, text, and sound.
ImPulsTanz (Video Gallery)
YouTube videos of contemporary dance performances, workshops, and more, from the annual ImPulsTanz festival in Vienna.
Features profiles, as well as images and video clips, of contemporary dance artists in Germany.
numerisdanse.tv: International Online Dance Video Library
Extracts and entire dance works, documentaries, interviews with artists and dance experts, teaching resources, and video dance film. Supported and coordinated by the Maison de la Danse in Lyon. Managed by a community of dance professionals and supported and coordinated by the Maison de la Danse in Lyon.
Royal Opera House Collections Online
“Material in the ROH Collections records the history of the three theatres that have stood on the Covent Garden site since 1732, and the performances that they have housed. The Collections are particularly comprehensive from 1946.” Images of artists, performances, music scores, and costumes.
Vlaams Theater Instituut / Performing Arts database
Database on performing arts productions in Flanders and Brussels. Production data only, no videos or images.
Ghana’s Highlife Music Collection: Digital repertoire of recordings and popart
Media collections hosted by the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology. Includes historical background on Ghanaian traditional music and highlife music, as well as highlife music recordings.
Global Music Archive
The Global Music Archive is a multi-media archive and resource center hosted by Vanderbilt University. The collection includes recordings, images, and bibliographies on traditional and popular song, music, and dance of Africa and North and South America, with particular emphasis on the African Diaspora.
Centre for Cultural Resources and Training
Organization under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Provides descriptions and images of classical dances of India, including Bharatnatyam dance, Kathakali dance, Kathak dance, and more.
Pioneers of Chinese Dance Digital Archive
Digital photograph collection created by the University of Michigan. Collects over 1,500 digital images on the history of twentieth-century Chinese dance.
Guide to the Papers of Gertrude Bodenwieser
Collection held by the National Library of Australia includes correspondence, photographs, costume designs, programs, press cuttings, publicity material and posters, music scores, writings by Bodenwieser, personal documents, dissertations and publications. Online items have been selectively digitized.
Luitzenk YouTube videos (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance videos)
PANDORA (Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia), Australia's Web Archive, is a growing collection of Australian online publications, established initially by the National Library of Australia in 1996, and now built in collaboration with nine other Australian libraries and cultural collecting organizations. Users of this archived resource should be aware that, in some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, seeing images of deceased persons in film may cause sadness or distress and in some cases, offend against strongly held cultural prohibitions.
National Library of Australia Dance Collection
Collection on dance in Australia with portraits, manuscripts, oral history interviews, photographs, scores, correspondence, programmes and memorabilia. Select items are available for viewing in the online collection.
New Zealand (Aotearoa)
Ziln: Dance Film Channel
The Dance Film Channel is designed to create a year round space for New Zealand dance on the internet, an online channel dedicated to and in support of dance in New Zealand. Browse videos by category or keyword search.
Calisphere: Museum of Performance and Design, Performing Arts Library
Gateway to still and moving images and audio recordings owned by the Museum of Performance + Design.
Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library
“The world’s first digital video archive on performance and politics in the Americas.” A partnership project between NYU Libraries and the Hemispheric Institute. Includes performances and interviews in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Hawaiian, and more.
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
“The Jerome Robbins Dance Division of The New York Public Library is the largest and most comprehensive archive in the world devoted to the documentation of dance.” Collects still and moving images, sound recordings, noted music, and text. Features the Dance Theater Workshop Video Archive, Jerome Robbins Dance: Moving Image Archive, Merce Cunningham Video Archive, and Mikhail Baryshnikov Archive.
de Young Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Images featuring collections held by fine arts museums de Young and Legion of Honor. This search covers the topic of dance. Use search filters to narrow down by artist, geographic region, century, and type.
Initiated and led by conceptual artist, Kenneth Goldsmith, UBU is the largest online archive of avant-garde art. UbuWeb Dance includes performance descriptions and videos. It is a work in process and content is continuously added to the site. Browse by author name or search by keyword to find dance films.