Are you interested in any or all aspects of dance? International Encyclopedia of Dance is a great starting point. In its print form it’s a 6-volume encyclopedia published in 1998 that was the first true encyclopedia of dance published (and received multiple awards, by the way). The online version, published by Oxford University Press, can of course be updated, and can be accessed anywhere by current UArts students. Articles can be emailed to any email address, and most entries have a selected bibliography of books, articles, and sometimes videos. Look up tutu, footwear, scenic design, lighting, Merce Cunningham, or Bakst!
Rudolf Laban (1879-1958) was a charismatic, womanizing, creative genius who was instrumental in the development of modern dance as we know it today, yet few have heard of him outside of Labanotation (if that). The author was a student of Laban’s and writes a sympathetic account of his life, a life devoted to dance in particular but involved in many art forms, including theater and visual arts. While some view him as a Nazi sympathizer, the author notes that Laban’s work was effectively censored by the Nazis and it was not until the 1980s that he began to be mentioned again in Germany. Laban makes for a fascinating and controversial story.
An Invitation to Dance: A History of Social Dance in America is an online exhibition by the American Antiquarian Society. The essays and illustrations provide a terrific overview to the history of social dance, which is an important part of American history. In the 18th and 19th centuries, dancing was a very popular social event. Dances were fun for family and friends, but also provided a place to find romance and network – socially and politically.
Jacob’s Pillow, “America’s longest running international dance festival,” brings you an interactive website full of performances from the 1930s through today’s hottest dancers. The history of Jacob’s Pillow is rooted in an old New England farm, purchased by dance couple Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis in 1930. And it’s still making history – in March of this year, President Obama awarded Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival the National Medal of Arts.