This post originally appeared on the site in August 2012.

by Christi Weindorf

The Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC) is all about building supportive and inspiring partnerships between libraries, archives, dance organizations, dance companies and dance artists. These alliances are focused on preserving, enhancing, augmenting and providing access to collections that document the past, present and future of dance as an art form.

The coalition is made up of eleven member organizations including the Library of Congress, the Jerome Robbins Dance Division at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute at The Ohio State University, the Arizona State University School of Dance and San Francisco’s Museum of Performance and Design. The DHC website offers links to these member institutions alongside a state by state list of other organizations that hold dance collections.

One exciting program that the DHC has developed is its fellowship program for students interested in archival preservation and dance history. As part of this initiative fellows work with a DHC member organization to learn about processing archival performing arts materials. They then put that learning into practice with another dance collection at a dance company, arts organization, library or archive. This program benefits both the fellows and the dance companies and arts organizations that they work with by providing hands-on learning opportunities for the fellow and preservation assistance for the dance collections.

Elizabeth Aldrich, curator of dance at the Library of Congress, shares some of the special items from the Music Division collection with 2012 fellows. Photo credit: Libby Smigel.

This summer the 2012 fellows worked with, amongst others, American Dance Festival, Dance Notation Bureau, UCLA Library and Lula Washington Dance Theatre. The DHC recently received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to expand the fellowship to as many as seven participants for the summers of 2012, 2013 and 2014. Applications for Summer 2013 fellowships are being accepted until October 15, 2012.

Videos at Dance Theatre of Harlem being inventoried by a 2011 fellow. Some of these videos are destined for digitization and inclusion in the Secure Media Network. Photo credit: Kat Bell.

Another exciting program that the DHC is developing in partnership with the Bay Area Video Coalition is the Secure Media Network. This network aims to provide access to the moving image materials held in the dance collections of libraries and other research institutions across the country while also limiting the risk of copyright infringement or unauthorized copying and distribution. This program is also working to digitize dance films, videos and DVDs to add to the network.

In addition to these programs, the DHC website has several online resources for researchers, teachers, librarians, archivists, dance companies and students. These include a list of America’s irreplaceable dance treasures, information on copyright and fair use as they relate to dance materials, a searchable database of finding aids for dance collections, access to DHC publications and information about DHC’s archive assessment service.

The DHC is a prime example of how library, archival and arts organizations can support and work with one another to strengthen our communities by preserving our cultural heritage. The creative collaborations that the DHC facilitates are scaling up to spread and build new alliances between artists, libraries and archives across the country.

Christi Weindorf is excited to complete the MLIS program at San José State University in August 2012 and launch into the wider world of libraries and archives. Over the last two years she has worked and interned with the Museum of Performance and Design, Dance Heritage Coalition, King Library at San José State University and Stanford University Libraries. Before pursuing an MLIS, Christi worked in arts education and earned an MA from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

All content on this page is copyright of the featured library. For more information, visit our Terms of Use page.

Pin It