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Dance Research Guide: Specialized catalogs

a guide to outstanding dance resources for research and enrichment


The George Balanchine catalog database functions now appear to be split among two separate websites dedicated to Balanchine and his works - The George Balanchine Foundation and the Balanchine Trust.

George Balanchine Foundation website

A newly designed Balanchine Foundation website offers much less than previously. A biography splash page, leads to a brief, photo-and-text Balanchine biography. The Balanchine catalog splash page leads to a searchable catalog of works for stage, film, circus, etc. Similarly, a video archives page offers a video search, offering brief information, but not seemingly leading to any connections to sources. The "Resources" tab leads to a page titled, "Research Collections;" when you click on the few entries on that page, they all lead to the New York Public Library.

The Balanchine catalog page "search catalog" link yields this:

George Balanchine Trust

To an extent The Balanchine Trust website continues information about George Balanchine himself, chiefly by means of a useful chronology of events in Balanchine's life. More importantly, it appears that part of what used to be billed as the "George Balanchine catalog database" is available under tabs at the website of The Balanchine Trust, a separate entity from the Foundation. Under the "Ballets" tab, there is an alphabetical (by title) listing, which has sub-selections for music composer, duration, and "number of dancers." There's also a chronological listing, and a keyword search under both listings. These sub-selections seem to be the "database." Under the "Ballets" tab, also, is a chronological listing of Balanchine ballet works, with the same sub-selections and search box as the alphabetical list. Each ballet links to information about each. 

The Balanchine Trust site also includes information about licensing ballets for performance, and a list of ballet companies worldwide that are expert in these works.


The Balanchine catalog listings on the two websites above represent an updated electronic version of the book, Choreography by George Balanchine..., published in 1984.

Print catalogs

La Danse Noble: an Inventory of Dances and Sources

Broude Brothers, 1992.  Catalog of all dances known to be preserved in Beauchamp-Feuillet notation.

Online catalogs

Dance Collection Catalog / New York Public Library
Jerome Robbins Dance Division

NYPL has one of the most extensive collections on dance anywhere.   With regard to physical materials, due to the fragility (and often rarity) of NYPL's materials, most of the materials must be used onsite, necessitating travel.  NYPL offers some materials through Interlibrary Loan; see the page devoted to the Dance Circulating Collection at NYPL for an idea.  In searching NYPL's "classic catalog" you'll probably want to select Dance Research Collection from the "Collection" drop-down box in order to focus your search more closely.  For different search parameters try using NYPL's Advanced search; to search more than one format at a time - to use video as an example - press the "Ctrl" key while clicking on DVD, E-Video, Film, and VHS.  or, alternatively, place the term "videorecording" (all one word) in a keyword box, then add other terms in other boxes.

Databases, cont'd

Notated Theatrical Dances Catalog

The Dance Notation Bureau (DNB) produces and houses scores by artists such as George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Antony Tudor, Bill T. Jones, Doris Humphrey, William Forsythe, José Limón, Laura Dean, and about 155 others. Each year DNB assists in staging some 40 works from scores. The catalog page offers a route to finding such works. This online database retrieves  extensive information covering notation, casting, production, music, media, archival, and permission and fee information for many choreographic works, though not the complete catalog of holdings. DNB aspires to offer an online catalog to its collections, including circulating and archival items.  There is a list of Notated Theatrical Dances held by the Bureau on the catalog page.

Lincoln Kirstein: the Published Writings

Lincoln Kirstein: the Published Writings is an online searchable database of published writings by cultural icon Lincoln Kirstein, co-founder (with George Balanchine) of the School of American Ballet and the New York City Ballet and champion of the arts in America.  (Find detailed information about Kirstein here.)  An "On Dance" section is also offered, and database searches can be limited to writings such as "On Dance." Kirstein wrote widely, far beyond dance, and his non-dance writings are also included in this database, which, while not yet connecting directly to all the writings, the site gives specific citations that enable researchers to find these works in print or online full-text through the TCU Library catalog and databases such as the International Index to the Performing Arts.  Try the library's new "discovery" search tool, FrogScholar, to make introductory searches of both the catalog and many of the databases, in order to find cited material.  Especially good for finding specific article citations is FrogScholar's Advanced search (click on "options") and/or the library web site's E-journals title search

Recently Dance Index issues from 1942-1948 became available for free online access here (brand-new recent issues from 2017-2020 are sold):