Dance Uptown, Series 10. 1972. Courtesy of the Barnard College Archives


Research Guide

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective research in dance.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Personal Librarian: 
Charlotte Price
108 LeFrak Center


Reference Sources

International Encyclopedia of Dance includes articles on all aspects of dance, including theatrical, ritual, dance-drama, folk, traditional, ethnic, and social dance.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance provides information about theater and performance from ancient Greece to the present.

George Balanchine Catalogue is a complete and fully searchable list of Balanchine’s choreographic works compiled by Nancy Reynolds and available on the site of the George Balanchine Foundation.

Lincoln Kirstein: The Published Writings is a complete and searchable list of Kirstein’s writings compiled by the Eakins Press Foundation & Ballet Society.

Jerome Robbins Foundation and Trust: Catalogue of Work is a complete list of Robbins’ choreography searchable by title, genre, or year.

A Steady Pulse: Restaging Lucinda Childs, 1963-78 is a web-based publication that excavates and reexamines Lucinda Childs’ “dances in silence”—those through which she found her compositional voice as a dance artist. It includes video of eight early works, as well as animation, essays, and an archive of photographs, scores, flyers, and programs.


Recommended Databases for Journal Articles and Reviews

International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance contains all of the content available in International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance as well as full text for 100 titles.

Performing Arts Periodicals Database (formerly International Index to the Performing Arts)  is a multidisciplinary index to the performing arts. Includes full-text.

JSTOR includes full-text articles from more than 1200 scholarly journals.

Project Muse includes full-text articles from more than 200 scholarly journals in history and the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers offers full-text and full-image articles from major American newspapers, including the New York Times.

ProQuest Newspapers is a database of articles from US national newspapers, international English-language newspapers, and/or selected regional/state newspapers. Chronological coverage of individual newspapers varies. Most articles are full text and are searchable by word, topic or newspaper title.


Finding Books and Media

The NYPL Catalog searches the circulating and non-circulating research collections at the New York Public Library, including those at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division.

Browse the stacks at Barnard and Columbia Libraries using the dance call number range: GV1580-GV1799.4

CLIO - Online catalog of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and the Law Library. Search the Catalog for book and media materials available on campus.

Media materials (DVDs, CDs) are available from the Media Collection in the Barnard Library.  Butler Media Center also has a number of dance related materials, including the Eye on Dance video series. To locate these materials, conduct an advanced search in the Catalog and limit results to Format: Video.

Borrow Direct enables current faculty, students, and staff from Columbia, Barnard, and Union Theological Seminary to request material from Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Princeton, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.


Additional Resources for Moving Images

Caribbean Studies in Video presents more than 1,000 hours of streaming footage from the Banyan Production company, the first Caribbean enterprise to produce original TV content in the 1970s. Their programs are filled with interviews of key personalities across disciplines; theater, music and dance performances; documentaries on rituals and cultural practices; political events and much more.

Dance in Video contains streaming video files of dance productions and documentaries by influential performers and companies. Users may create their own playlists and custom video clips.

Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive is an online exhibit with brief performance excerpts spanning from 1930s dance pioneers to today's most exciting artists. All recorded at Jacob's Pillow. provides access to concerts, operas, and ballets, as well as over 300 documentaries investigating the performing arts.

Naxos Video Library is a performing arts video collection with operas, ballets, documentaries, live concerts, and musical tours of historic places. Users may create their own playlists and custom video clips.

Ontheboards.TV provides access to films of full-length performances by artists working in dance, theater, music and other forms that defy categorization.

Routledge Performance Archive is a developing resource produced in partnership with Digital Theatre. The video material spans more than fifty years of documented work direct from renowned practitioners and specialists, and ranges across the entire spectrum of theatre topics.

UbuWeb is a completely independent resource dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts.

Primary Sources



  • The Barnard Archives' Digital Collections includes photographs, the Annual & Mortarboard, student publications, the Barnard Bulletin, and others.
  • NYPL's Digital Collections contain many historical resources on dance, including photographs, letters, manuscripts, and videos (note: most videos can only be viewed on-site at the Library for the Performing Arts).
  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers offers full-text and full-image articles from major American newspapers, including the New York Times. Interviews, reviews, and advertisements may be most helpful for dance research.
  • ProQuest Historical Black Newspapers contains full text and page images of newspapers like the Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003), the Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988), the Chicago Defender (1909-1975), the Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005), the New York Amsterdam News (1922-1883), and the Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002).
  • Pioneers of Chinese Dance Digital Archive at University of Michigan is a digital photograph collection designed to make the history of twentieth-century Chinese dance accessible to international researchers. Contains roughly 1500 images.

Data and Statistics

These are some of the most common sources with the most relevant data pertaining to the performing arts. For help in interpreting, analyzing, visualizing, or presenting data, visit Barnard's Empirical Reasoning Center (ERC) located in 102 LeFrak.

  • The National Endowment for the Arts research section splits its reports into four categories: Artists in the Workforce, Arts Participation, Arts & the Economy, and Arts &... Each category contains in-depth reports and analyses of research topics in the arts, as well as arts data profiles (collections of statistics, graphics, and summary results from data-mining about the arts) that relate to the subject. These are just some of the highlights for each category—to see all the NEA research reports, go here and to see all NEA arts data profiles, go here.
    • National Archive for Data on Arts & Culture (NADAC) is a repository that facilitates research on arts and culture by acquiring data, particularly those funded by federal agencies and other organizations, and sharing those data with researchers, policymakers, people in the arts and culture field, and the general public. NADAC helps users identify specific arts and cultura data, analyze and create customized subsets of selected datasets, find publications that use NADAC data, as well as use and understand research data.
    • The Survey for Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA) has been in place since 1982, and is the largest, most representative survey of adult patterns in arts participation.
  • NYC-Arts Alliance began economic impact studies in 1983 to examine the arts in NYC as an economic engine.
  • Americans for the Arts contains several types of reports and tools on the arts and culture industry, including arts and economic prosperity, arts and health, corporate social responsibility and the arts, arts and funding, arts and education, and more.

Citation for Dance, and Avoiding Plagiarism

  • For examples & information on citing  a live performance, web video, tweet, interviews, and other sources in various citation styles, use CiteSource.
  • For more detailed rules on various citation styles, head to the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL).
  • To manage your citations using a program, check out Mendeley or Zotero.

Avoiding plagiarism in dance and research can be very different. For some tips on avoiding plagiarism in research, check out this page from the Barnard Library.

Plagiarism in the performing arts can be challenging to spot, and separate from influence.  “You can be
inspired by choreographers from Merce Cunningham to de Keersmaeker,” says Kitty Daniels, chair of Cornish College of the Arts’ dance department. “But to duplicate their movement phrases exactly is a violation of intellectual property rights.” (Larsen, Gavin. "The Plagiarism Problem." Dance Spirit, 15 Feb. 2016. Web.)

Using elements rather than a whole section or phrase, and also citing your influences in a program or website can help give credit where it's due.

Additional Resources

This guide serves as a starting point for beginning research in dance, and does not cover the great diversity of resources available to support the study and practice of the discipline. For additional resources, please consult one of the following course specific guides or make an appointment for a research consultation: