International Encyclopedia of Dance


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!

To get to it, go to Under ONLINE RESOURCES select Reference Sources and then scroll down to International Encyclopedia of Dance.

Digital Resource of the Week: PBS Arts

PBS Arts is a visual and performing arts website of the Public Broadcasting Service. Explore visual art, filmdance, theater, music, and writing through video. View them all in the Exhibition Archives. Here are some highlights:

Off Book is a PBS Arts collection of videos on experimental and avant-garde contemporary art. Topics such as Art in the Era of the Internet and Product Design are featured.

Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders is a series of video interviews with musicians and singers from around the world. Learn about Seu George, Brazilian samba singer, and concert pianist Yuja Wang.

loopdiver: The Journey of a Dance goes behind the scenes with the group Troika Ranch to capture the lives and emotions of its members.

PBS Arts also invites you to submit your own artwork via Flickr or YouTube. If you like PBS Arts, check out the PBS DVDs and videos available at the UArts Libraries!

Library staff recommendation: Rudolf Laban: An Extraordinary Life

Rudolf Laban: An Extraordinary Life by Valerie Preston-Dunlop.

Greenfield Open Stacks 793.30924 L11pr

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.

from Rudolf Laban: An Extraordinary Life

If you enjoy this, you’ll also enjoy The Makers of Modern Dance in Germany. To learn more about Laban, read his entry in the International Encyclopedia of Dance (UArts e-mail log-in required from off-campus locations).

From Rudolf Laban: An Extraordinary Life

Digital Resource of the Week: An Invitation to Dance

The Ruck Ruck Galop Dance
The Ruck Ruck Galop Dance

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.

The exhibition looks not only at the social aspects but also the language of dance and music, the fashion trends and the rules of etiquette of the time. An excellent bibliography will help you find more resources on the subject.

detail from a ticket for a Bal Masque in Worcester, Massachusetts
detail from a ticket for a Bal Masque in Worcester, Massachusetts

Want to see these dances in action? Check out America Dances! 1897-1948: A Collector’s Edition of Social Dance in Film by Dancetime Publications (Greenfield Library DVD, GD 344). We also have a new book on the subject – Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader by Julie Malnig (available in Greenfield Library and the Music Library). And don’t forget to search Dance in Video for the subject “social dances“.

Digital Resource of the Week: Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive

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.

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive showcases dancers from the annual festival. Search by artist to find your favorite performer, like Alvin Ailey or Pearl Primus. You can also search by genre, such as ballet or cultural, or by era, like the 1950s.

Virtual Pillow leads you to even more interactive resources, including PillowTalk (interviews and conversations with choreographers, dancers, and others).

Want to learn more about Jacob’s Pillow? Search the UArts Libraries’ catalog for “Jacob’s Pillow” as a keyword (in quotation marks!), Ted Shawn or Ruth St. Denis to find more great resources. There’s also an entry on Jacob’s Pillow in the online International Encyclopedia of Dance.

from Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
from Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
Ruth St. Denis
Ruth St. Denis