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Dance Research Guide: Biography

a guide to outstanding dance resources for research and enrichment

Online biography sources

Fifty Contemporary Choreographers (20212011 and 1999)

Covering the most important LIVING ballet, modern, contemporary and post-modern choreographers in Europe and North America (alive at the time of publication), these guides are valuable quick references for students, critics, dancers and general readers.  Each entry includes a biographical section, a chronological list of works, a detailed bibliography and a critical essay.  Readers can easily locate each choreographer's style and influence, plus the essential facts in his or her career.  2011 and 1999 are also available in print in the Main Stacks via call number GV1785 A1 B75.

Biography databases

A full list of biography databases offered by the TCU Library can be found by clicking "Biography" on the Databases web page.  Some selections are below.

Contemporary Theatre Film and Television (2011)

This series brings you extensive biographical and career information on more than 20,000 professionals currently working in the entertainment industry, including performers, choreographers, directors, technicians, writers, composers, producers, executives, designers, critics and more.  It encompasses the earlier title, Who's Who in Theatre, as well as Who Was Who in Theatre.  2012 (and upward?) seems to be provided in Gale Biography in Context.  Hint:  select radio button to search "all volumes."

Gale in Context: Biography (formerly Biography Resource Center, then Biography in Context)

This comprehensive database includes information from more than 350 reference works - notably the International Dictionary of Modern Dance and the International Dictionary of Ballet - periodicals such as Dance Magazine, news publications, broadcasts, and even primary sources (links are provided to the sound files in the case of broadcasts). This database provides narrative, thumbnail and full-text periodical profiles.  As an added plus, it's possible to search for people based on one or more personal facts such as birthplace/deathplace and dates, nationality, occupation, or gender. Many searches include images.

Current Biography

Current Biography (covering 1940 to the present) includes full-text profiles of artists, politicians, business people, journalists, actors, authors, sports figures, scientists, and people in the news. It includes more than 15,000 full text biographies, and more than 9,400 obituaries.

Marquis Biographies Online

Marquis Biographies Online (MBO) packs in detailed information on more than 1.4 million accomplished individuals. Content includes the current biographies of those who appeared in the publisher's Who's Who print titles since 1985 that cover the regions of the United States and the country as a whole; Asia; people from around the world who are prominent in science and engineering, media and communications, entertainment, medicine and health care, finance and business, religion, and human services; Americans important in nursing and art and as emerging leaders; and famous Americans since 1607.

Who's Who with Who Was Who Online

Published every year since 1849, Who's Who is the leading source of up-to-date information about over 33,000 influential people worldwide. Who Was Who collects together the entries of nearly 90,000 people, now deceased, which were included in previous editions of Who's Who.  The two are together and are continually updated in this super-convenient searchable database.

American National Biography Online

Selected as one of the Best References by the Library Journal, the ANB Online features nearly 18,000 biographies, thousands of illustrations, more than 80,000 hyperlinked cross-references, links to select web sites, and powerful search capabilities.

Print biography sources

Searching the catalog for biographical works (how to)

Fifty Contemporary Choreographers (2011 and 1999)

Covering the most important modern, ballet, contemporary and post-modern choreographers in Europe and North America alive as of the date of publication, these guides are valuable quick references for students and critics, dancers and general readers in love with dance. Each entry includes a biographical section, a chronological list of works, a detailed bibliography and a critical essay. In entries on choreographers such as Richard Alston, Pina Bausch, Laurie Booth, Christopher Bruce, Jonathan Burrows, Michael Clarke, Merce Cunningham, Anna Theresa De Keersmaeker, Eiko and Koma, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp and other leading figures, readers can easily locate each choreographer's style and influence within the development of contemporary theatre dance, and swiftly discern the essential facts in his or her career. These books are located in the Main stacks by call number GV 1785 A1 B74.

Film Choreographers and Dance Directors: an Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia

McFarland and Co., 1997, Reference Collection, GV 1779 B55 1997.  This comprehensive reference work offers detailed information about the work of 970 film choreographers and dance directors, 1893-1995.

Dancers and Choreographers: a Selected Bibliography   

Dancers and Choreographers: a Selected Bibliography - this Dance Research Foundation book was published in 1995 by Asphodel Press, and is found in

the Reference Collection by call number GV 1785 A1 G48. No instant gratification here: once you've found titles about your chosen individual you will need to check the library's catalog for cited books and journals.  When the TCU Library doesn't have a needed book title, try finding it in Worldcat; if an area library doesn't have it (you can get a TexShare card to check out items from other libraries), or Interlibrary Loan may be able to get it for you.  Articles from journals the library doesn't have can also be Interlibrary-loaned.

Biographical Dictionary of Dance

This "Dance Horizons book" is located in the Reference Collection by call number GV 1785 A1 C58 1982, profiling more than 2,900 performers, choreographers, designers, impresarios, theorists, and teachers in Europe and the Americas.  Genres include ballet, modern, jazz, pop, burlesque, vaudeville, musical theater and film.  Coverage includes the last four centures of dance history in Europe and the Americas, up to 1982. 

Facts on File Encyclopedia of Black Women in America [request]

While current only as of 1997, this book, located in the Bolt St. Library Annex, goes back to 1619.  Volume 3 focuses on Dance, sports and the visual arts.  Volume 9 is Theater, arts, and entertainment.  Request any of the volumes by clicking on the title above, then clicking "More Information / Retrieval Requests."