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Dance Research Guide: Dance encyclopedias+

a guide to outstanding dance resources for research and enrichment

Online encyclopedias & other resources

International Encyclopedia of Dance

Oxford University Press. A product of the Dance Perspectives Foundation, available in  print in the library's Remote Stacks, GV 1585 I586 1998, with an updated online version (click on the title above). With nearly 2,000 articles written by scholars from fifty countries, the Encyclopedia covers the full spectrum of dance--theatrical, ritual, dance-drama, folk, traditional, ethnic, and social dance. Extensive historical, cultural and aesthetic overviews are accompanied by entries on dance forms, music and costumes, performances, and biographies of dancers and choreographers. Articles often address dance research and publication, education and criticism in the countries surveyed. Suggestion: do not use the search box on the top left unless you limit it to Performing Arts / Dance.  Scroll down to find the "Search within this work" box on the lower left.  Sample articles on dance in China; Costume in Western Traditions, Asian Traditions, and African Traditions.

Gale Virtual Reference Library [Gale Ebooks]

Gale Virtual Reference Library, now Gale Ebooks, is a database that includes the full text of encyclopedias - such as the Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion, 2005 - and other specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research. One of three main links in Gale Virtual Reference Library is Subject Guide Search. Click on this and put Danc* into the search box; you'll get an extensive list of dance topic areas leading to excellent reference articles, complete with bibliographies. Advanced Search, another one of the top links in Gale, can be used to search more freely (try a subject search for danc*).  Sample articles from the multi-volume reference work Arts and Humanities Through the Eras: Ancient Egypt...Dance.

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Online

Don't let the title fool you; this comprehensive online resource includes articles on the cultural context of dances, rituals, and ceremonies, in addition to the music of all the world's peoples, covering antiquity to the present. Sound and video are available by selecting the Music Online interface option.  Sample an article on the music and dance of Finland.

Encyclopedia of World Folk Dance

Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.  This long-awaited book uses an alphabetic arrangement to list dance types, countries of origin, etc.  The index is often a helpful guide to finding particular dances, but there's also a full-text search.

The Unity of Music and Dance in World Cultures

McFarland & Co., 2016.  This study surveys music and dance from a global perspective, viewing them as a composite whole found in every culture. The author examines the connection between sound and movement as an element of the human experience. Music and dance from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific are discussed.

The American Dance Floor

This outstanding ebook series features specific social dance forms such as disco, swing, country & western, hip hop, rock 'n roll (1950s), folk and Latin dance forms.

The Encyclopedia of World Ballet

Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.  This work by Mary Ellen Snodgrass provides information on trends, styles, persons, companies and more.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance 

Oxford University Press, 2011 (electronic edition, linked to this record for the 2003 print ed.).  This reference work is particularly useful for articles on performance studies.  This linked article opens into a network of lengthy articles on this and allied topics.  Some other areas of interest are gender and performance and physical theatre.

Oxford African American Studies Center

The AASC, a database-in-progress, provides online access to the finest reference sources in African American studies, including the Encyclopedia of African American History (2006), Black Women in America, 2nd ed. (2005), Africana, the African American National Biography Project, and the Encyclopedia of African American Art and Architecture, plus the Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature and selected articles from other reference works.  This core reference content is enhanced by bibliographies, interactive timelines and maps, thematic photo essays and image collections, key primary source documents, and editorially selected links to internet resources.  To browse dance-related content, select the "Subject entries" division under browse and then "D" for dance.  Another growing database in this vein is African American Music Reference.

Fifty Contemporary Choreographers

Covering the most important ballet, modern, contemporary and post-modern choreographers in Europe and North America - those still living as of 2011 - this guide is a valuable quick reference 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.  Also available in print in the Reference Collection  via call number GV1785 A1 B75 2011, together with the first edition (1999), which covers choreographers still living as of 1999 - GV1785 A1 B75 1999.  Note:  an extensive Introduction in the 2011 ed. by Deborah Jowitt reflects on choreographers both living and dead.

Encyclopedia of Aesthetics / Grove (Oxford) Art Online

This excellent online reference work can be searched by checking Encyclopedia of Aesthetics in Oxford Art Online (currently in the TCU Library databases list under Grove). A sample search of EoA for danc* yields, among many other hits, a long and detailed article on the aesthetics of dance, with mention of several others. Other notable articles concern Performance and Performance Art. EoA is also available in print, though only as of 1998. Grove (Oxford) Art Online also comprises the full text of The Dictionary of Art, 1996 (34 volumes), The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, and The Oxford Companion to Western Art, 2001.

Performing Arts Resources

Theatre Library Association, 1974 to the present.  This multi-volume title presents resources available to researchers in the performing arts (theatre, film, broadcasting, dance, and popular entertainments). The first volume (1974) covered about 15 of the major United States research collections, and subsequent volumes have expanded the scope to smaller collections and collections abroad. All contents are unique; there are no duplication of subject among the volumes. As an example, the 1997 volume is entirely devoted to resources on dancers Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn and their Denishawn School. All volumes are available online via the International Index to the Performing Arts (IIPA); search for ISSN 0360-3814 to browse or search among the different volumes or simply click on the title link above. Here is a link to catalog information for print issues through 1997. A handy list of upcoming volumes and topics in past volumes is provided by the Theatre Library Association on their website.

Print encyclopedias & other works

Learn more about encyclopedias and similar works, and how to search for them

International Dictionary of Modern Dance

St. James Press, 1998. Reference Collection, GV 1585 B46 1998, located on the first floor of the library building in the Reference Collection.  Encyclopedic in scope, IDMD contains over 400 entries on all aspects of modern dance, from biographical material to essays on movements and more. The majority of entries treat individuals who have influenced the art since the 19th century and include biographical details, dates, education, awards, roles (if they were performers), and specific works.  An overview essay focuses on the beginnings and evolution of modern dance and its relationship to other forms and furnishes a timeline and listing of key events. Biographies from IDMD can now be accessed through the online database Biography in Context (Gale).

International Dictionary of Ballet

St. James Press, 1993. Information Commons, 1993, GV 1585 I57 1993, located on the first floor of the library building, in the Reference Collection. This two-volume ballet dictionary is considered by catalogers to be an encyclopedia due to its level of detail. Biographies from IDB can be accessed through the online database Biography in Context (Gale).

Social Dancing in America: a History and Reference

This two-volume reference, published in 2007, traces American popular dance forms from 1607 to 2000, illuminating the part social dancing has played in Americans' lives and connecting it to societal developments in the 20th century.  Handsomely illustrated and photographed (even including sheet music), each volume has an extensive bibliography.  Located in the Reference Collection by call number GV1623 G56 2007.  CONTENTS volume 1:  Fair Terpsichore to the Ghost Dance, 1607-1900 -- Acknowledgments -- Introduction -- Chronology of dance: The Minuet, Puritans and anti-dance reformation: 1607-1740 -- The Virginia Reel, George Washington, and the Waltz: 1740-1820 -- The Buffalo Dance, Cotillions, and the Polka: 1820-1865 -- The Ghost Dance, the Cakewalk, and the Two-Step: 1865-1900 -- Bibliography -- Select bibliography of online dance instruction manuals from the LoC -- Index.  CONTENTS volume 2:  Lindy Hop to Hip Hop, 1901-2000 -- Acknowledgments -- Introduction -- Chronology of dance: Animal dances, the Castles, and Ragtime: 1901-1919 -- The Charleston, Flappers, and Jazz: 1920-1932 -- The Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, and Swing: 1932-1947 -- The Mambo, American Bandstand, and Rock 'n Roll: 1947-1960 -- The Twist, Doing Your Own Thing, and a Go-Go: 1960-1969 -- The Hustle, Saturday Night Fever, and Disco: 1970-1979 -- Breakdancing, Country Dancing, and the Swing Dance Revival: 1980-2000 -- Bibliography -- Select list of Hollywood movies by type of dance -- Index.

Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: a Social and Popular Dance Reader [Google preview]

This scholarly 2009 volume documents the rich and varied history of social dance and the multiple styles it has generated, while drawing on some of the most current forms of critical and theoretical inquiry. The essays cover different historical periods and styles, noting influences from North and South America, Britain, Europe, and Africa; and emphasize a variety of methodological approaches, including ethnography, anthropology, gender studies, and critical race theory. While social dance is defined primarily as dance performed by the public in ballrooms, clubs, dance halls, and other meeting spots, contributors also examine social dance’s symbiotic relationship with popular, theatrical stage dance forms.  One copy is housed in the  Reference Collection by call number GV 1781 B35 2009; two other copies in the main stacks (first floor) can be checked out.  CONTENTS: Section I - Historical precedents:; Our national poetry: the Afro-Chesapeake inventions of American dance / Jurretta Jordan Heckscher -- The civilizing of America's ballrooms: the revolutionary war to 1890 / Elizabeth Aldrich -- Just like being at the zoo: primitivity and ragtime dance / Nadine George-Graves -- Apaches, tangos, and other indecencies: women, dance, and New York nightlife of the 1910s / Julie Malnig -- Evolving styles:; Section II - Reality dance: American dance marathons / Carol Martin -- The Trianon and on: reading mass social dancing in the 1930s and 1940s in Alberta, Canada / Lisa Doolittle -- Negotiating compromise on a burnished wood floor: social dancing at the Savoy / Karen Hubbard and Terry Monaghan -- Rumba then and now: quindembo / Yvonne Daniel -- Embodying music/disciplining dance: the mambo body in Havana and New York City / David F. García -- Rocking around the clock: teenage dance fads from 1955 to 1965 / Tim Wall -- Beyond the hustle: 1970s social dancing, discotheque culture, and the emergence of the contemporary club dancer / Tim Lawrence -- Theatricalizations of social dance forms:; Section III - A thousand raggy, draggy dances: social dance in Broadway musical comedy in the 1920s / Barbara Cohen-Stratyner -- From Bharata Natyam to bop: Jack Cole's "modern" jazz dance / Constance Valis Hill -- From Busby Berkeley to Madonna: music video and popular dance / Sherril Dodds --;The dance archaeology of Rennie Harris: hip-hop or postmodern? / Hakifu Osumare -- The contemporary scene:; Section IV - C'mon to my house  underground house dancing / Sally R. Sommer -- Dancing Latin/Latin dancing: salsa and dancesport / Juliet McMains -- Louisiana gumbo: retention, Creolization, and innovation in contemporary Cajun and zydeco dance / May Gwin Waggoner -- The multiringed cosmos of krumping: hip-hop dance at the intersections of battle, media, and spirit / Chrisitina Zanfagna.

May I have the pleasure? the Story of Popular Dancing

London:  Dance Books, c1976, 1987; reprinted 1993.  Introduction -- From our roots to the Renaissance -- The French connection -- The century of waltz -- Cheek to cheek -- Let's twist again -- The people's dances / by Ronald Smedley.  This book by distinguished scholar Belinda Quirey sets out to trace the development of our social dancing from its origins in the ancient ring dances of antiquity to the teenager's beat dancing of today.  From the invention of the couple dance by the Troubadors of Provence, through the domination of the Italian, the English and the French courts to the French Revolution and then on to the most shocking dance ever known to Western man, the Waltz.  Eighty years later, and the syncopated beat of ragtime leads us to the age of the Foxtrot and the Quickstep - until Bill Haley starts to play and Elvis moves his pelvis... This is not a look at how to dance but what people danced, and why.  NOTE:  this book has no index, so it's not very easy to locate information.

National Dance

Crowood, 2006.   Reference Collection, Call No. GV1643 A43 2006.  This excellent book has a lengthy chapter on the Development of Costume, mentioning a number of specific countries or areas, plus chapters on specific countries or regions.  NOTE:  this work concentrates on European countries.

Encyclopedia of the World's Nations and Cultures

Facts on File, 2007. This four-volume print reference has been moved to the Bolt St. Library Annex and must be requested (click on the title above, then on "More Information / Retrieval Requests."  A multi-volume 1991 work on a similar theme, Encyclopedia of World Cultures (G. K. Hall), a 10-volume set, is also requestable from the Bolt St. Library Annex (see the contents to know which volume(s) to request).  The four volume Encyclopedia of Urban Cultures: Cities and Cultures Around the World, 2002, can also be requested (view contents before requesting; this may influence your request).