Dance in Film

Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. "Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in the motion picture Top Hat." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1935.

Dance in Film Research Guide

Welcome! This page supports research for Dance in Film. For tools and techniques for conducting research in dance history, please consult the appropriate research guide.

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

Personal Librarian:
Charlotte Price
108 LeFrak Center, Barnard Hall

Dance Films | Journals | Databases | Streaming Resources | Special Collections

Dance Films at Barnard/Columbia

There's no complete list of dance media materials available in the Barnard Library, but doing a search in CLIO for "danc*" and limiting format to video and location to Barnard comes up with a good list of physical videos available at the Barnard circulation desk. Most videos are non-circulating but can be viewed at stations on the main floor of the Barnard Library.

Using these subject headings in CLIO can also find more specific results:

  • Modern dance
  • Musicals
  • Ballet
  • Tap dancing
  • Motion pictures
  • Or a Form/Genre search for Dance Films, or documentary films


A few core dance journals to search in:


Current Reviews

You'll find many performance reviews in newspapers. Since most databases have different date ranges, check the date range for each link first - most newspapers will have multiple! Some of the periodicals you might want to check are:

Many newspapers and magazines can also be searched through databases together:

  • Factiva provides access to global news and business information, including local newspapers, same-day newswires, company reports, and media programs.
  • FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals Plus is a bibliographical index offering in-depth coverage of the world's foremost academic and popular film journals from 1972 to the present day.
  • International Index to the Performing Arts draws its content from more than 210 international periodicals and also indexes articles appearing in the New York times and the Washington post. Includes approximately 200,000 records with 90,000 from the backfile (up to 1997).
  • International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance contains all of the content available in International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance as well as full text for 100 titles, including Canadian Theatre Review, Dance Chronicle, Dance Teacher, Modern Drama, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Research in Dance Education, Research in Drama Education, Studies in Theatre and Performance, TDR: The Drama Review, Theater, and many more
  • LexisNexis Academic is an interdisciplinary, full-text database of over 18,000 sources including newspapers, journals, wire services, newsletters, company reports, case law, and other works.
  • NewsBank provides access to current and archived content from more than 2,000 newspaper titles. Especially good for international titles.
  • 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.

Historical Reviews


  • Dance in Video I - Searchable database containing streaming video files of dance productions, interviews, coaching sessions, and documentaries by influential performers and companies from around the world.
  • Dance in Video II
  • Ethnographic Video Online is intended to be a visual encyclopedia of human behavior and culture, online in streaming video. Contains classic and contemporary documentaries; previously unpublished footage from working anthropologists and ethnographers in the field; and select feature films. Includes areas on music and the arts.
  • New York Public Library Digital Collections Audio and Moving Image Archive has digitized many unique dance films available online previously only available by visiting the Jerome Robbins Dance Division reading room. Alert - some videos may only be viewed from computers in the Performing Arts Library. These are indicated with a lock symbol. They can be excluded from your results by toggling the "Exclude Location-Restricted Videos" button
  • Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive is an online exhibit of brief video performance excerpts spanning from 1930s dance pioneers to today's most exciting artists recorded at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Massachusetts.
  • Dance-Tech TV is a video platform focused on contemporary experimentation and innovation on the performance of movement, often focusing on the intersection of dance and technology. Includes both interviews and performances.
  • Dance Channel TV  is an online media network dedicated to promoting, preserving and supporting all forms of dance around the world. Much focus on ballet, but also includes a "Meet the Artist" series as well as dance documentaries.
  • PBS Great Performances (the local channel for Barnard is Thirteen)
  • UBUweb: Film & video is a digital archive of avant-garde film and video.

Special Collections

New York Public Library Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center

NYPL Digital Collections