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Dance Research Guide: Online dance videos

a guide to outstanding dance resources for research and enrichment

Dance videos from the web - viewable online

NYPL Moving Image Archive, part of New York Public Library's amazing dance holdings, is digitizing an ever-increasing number of videos from its physical collections.  Many of the videos cannot be watched online due to rights restrictions, but you can select to search items that are not "locationally restricted."  

The Dance Films Association, originator of the Dance on Camera Festival and workshop, is dedicated to furthering the art of dance film and fostering the development of new works.  Among other attractions the DFA site presents a Blog, a Film Distributors list and a Dance and Media Timeline, complete with embedded videos, which offers a quick synopsis of key events in dance for film.  TCU has online access to Dance on Camera Journal [direct link], a publication of the Dance Films Association, 2007 to 2011. Currently (2019) the DFA offers film download purchases at watch.dancefilms.org. For viewable Dance on Camera films the Association site has typically referred inquirers to several online resources, including:

 Dance Pulp, formerly hosted by Hulu, had its own website (now absent); it is found now on YouTube, and a selection of complete videos are found in the Dance in Video database (search: dancepulp OR "dance pulp" without quotes).  Once you start a video you'll see the "Dance Pulp" logo.

TenduTV - though largely pay-per-view via Marquee TV (see link in PPV box below), a few Essential Dance Film< submissions, available via YouTube and https://www.facebook.com/dancefilm, can still be watched at least in excerpts.  See TenduTV via Dance in Video (this  unfortunately does not include Essential Dance Film content).

Vimeo - to search among these films, click the magnifying glass icon - this brings up a search box (the search box in the upper right corner searches all Vimeo content, not just DFA's).  Vimeo is broadly useful for searching for dance content.  Check out Directors Cut Films - Chasing a Rainbow: the Life of Josephine Baker.

Move the Frame - created by Pentacle Movement Media, this older blog-site was created to support and promote videodance, also known as dance film, cinedance, screendance, and kinodance.  Featured in various web locations is the UMOVE Festival, segments of which can be watched online at Vimeo and also YouTube.

DFA's Online Resources list also links out to Dance-tech.net/Dance-tech.TV, immediately below, and TenduTV, in the Pay-per-view section below.  

Dance-tech.TV - linked from DFA's Online Resources pages is Dance-tech.net, which offers Dance-tech.TV, a video platform focused on contemporary experimentation and innovation on the performance of movement.  Two "Collections" of note are Screendance@ and, in particular, Choreography or Else, an online series featuring complete performances from international choreographers, dance artists or directors that continue to challenge traditional and contextual notions of choreography, dance and performance.

Dance Channel TV is a source of original programming with recent, short news, entertainment and human-interest features on dance.  DC-TV on YouTube is searchable by clicking the magnifying glass icon - but it has its own separate interface as well, which can be browsed by categories such as Ballet and Modern and series such as Meet the Artist (a list of artist interviews is available via YouTube). DC-TV has a Facebook presence as well.

Looking at Contemporary Dance (internet guide)

This amazing work covers the history of modern/postmodern/contemporary dance, with all its major proponents, linking eras and persons with online video (links are not live, however):

Looking at Contemporary Dance: a Guide for the Internet Age [ebook/ Marc Raymond Strauss with Myron Howard Nadel.  Princeton Book Co., 2012.  Also available in print, GV1619 .S77 2012.

Dance videos from the web: subscription, pay-per-view or rental

MarqueeArts.TV - established some years ago, Marquee offers a range of dance-related viewing with annual or monthly subscription. Sadly, little can be seen without a trial - Marquee's YouTube presence offers some tidbits, and its Facebook presence announces new additions. Marquee seems to have been the successor of Tendu.TV.

OntheBoards.TV - with lead support from The Wallace Foundation and additional support from DanceUSA, OntheBoards.tv, aims to offer high-quality videos of full-length video performances, innovatively filmed, by some of today’s most provocative contemporary artists working in dance, theater, music and other art forms that defy categorization.  On the Boards is a center for contemporary performance located in Seattle, WA. Videos at OntheBoards.tv are available via rental or purchase, or a subscription to the site may be obtained. "Academic" (classroom) sharing is on a subscription basis (at a high cost, considering the small number of dance videos). On film pages are links to reviews, onsite comments, podcasts or interviews (sound productions available free), "behind the scenes" short videos and sign-up for notifications about new production offerings. (Sample: Heaven).

Medici.tv - a fairly recent option, Medici offers a range of ballets viewable online. Free accounts are available for "partial" access; Premium is available for about $20 a month or $189 per year.

Contemporary Dance Video Database

Though presenting itself with a rather clunky web space, Contemporary Dance Video Database nevertheless offers many full-length videos presenting such artists as William Forsythe, Pina Bausch, and Mats Ek.  To browse the site, scroll far down the page to "Categories" showing the names of key choreographers, works and groups.  Though some videos are available only after downloading a program called Rapidshare (the free version of which is too slow), most entries provide "GO TO" links to access video.  An RSS feed for the site is represented below.  As an added plus, CDVD has a Facebook page; if you "Like" it, the most recent uploads will appear on your own page.  

Worth checking out also is a similar resource, UBUweb Dance, a contributor to CDVD.

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Google video

Google Video - video.google.com - this selection within Google can act as a search engine for video content from a wide array of domains (sample).  At google.com simply choose "Video" from the MORE drop-down list if it presents itself, (Google is changeable) or "Video" from a results page.  If needed, try the Advanced video search.  A search for - for example - Victoria Marks pulls up video placed at Vimeo and elsewhere.

Dance videos from the web - viewable online, continued

Jacob's Pillow Virtual - this multifaceted site showcases the Jacob's Pillow Festival with recent and historic videos, including performance, documentary and features highlighting world-renowned choreographers, dancers, authors, filmmakers, historians, and critics.  

Folkstreams.net / Dance -   this web resource, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts among others, offers a catalog of unique - and often scarce - documentary films mostly (though not all) on American "folk" topics, including music, dance and numerous other subject areas such as costume.  To view those possibilities, click the "Subjects" link at the left-hand margin.  Transcripts and bibliographies are available for some films, plus links to other material.  For samples, check out Plenty of Good Women Dancers (tap) and Talking Feet:  Solo Southern Dance: Buck, Flatfoot and Tap by Mike Seeger for the Smithsonian Institution, 1987.  You might end up expanding your idea of what constitutes dance - for instance, have you ever seen a tractor dance?  Did you know that Fire Dance, of Pacific islands origin, has taken hold in the northwestern United States?  Most of the films will now play from the photos in the centers of film pages, but occasionally there will be just a short excerpt (a "trailer").  In these cases full-length play can be accomplished via links to the lower right of the photos.  Example: "Play Real-Broadband Film."

Digital Public Library of America - this growing resource allows you to choose 'moving images' from all search results.  Sample a search for danc* /Moving images.

PBS.org - PBS is a mega-resource that is slowly consolidating its materials on various topics and programs, particularly its online video offerings (video.pbs.org).  Some of PBS' outstanding dance programs are available online in entirety, and for most productions there are valuable background videos or other materials that are freely available.  A few major pages currently offer the most value to dance researchers (below).

         PBS Video - http://pbs.org/video (the Video tab at PBS.org) used to feature "Topics" - sadly, this no longer is the case.  Searching for "dance" is useless from that page.  To do this, you must first search PBS.org, after which can limit to video content.  A general search for dance is fruitful. Other routes include the pages below.
         PBS Great Performances: Dance - learn what dance programs have been produced for this outstanding series, and access detailed teaching and other materials for productions. Full episodes are available online.
         American Masters: Performing Arts - this sub-page of the American Masters series, stemming from PBS.org, lists several programs of interest to dance enthusiasts. Texts and sometimes footage are available to peruse online.  Video pages associated with American Masters are video.pbs.org / American Masters and WNET's American Masters page.  Sample video: Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About.
  PBS Arts exhibitions: Dance - available as a "genre" choice, the Dance page offers photos and video segments from featured dance performances, interviews and other sources.
 

PBS Learning Media - usable following free registration, this website offers a wealth of video and lesson plan materials.  To browse the possibilities, choose the appropriate level from Grade, if desired, then "The Arts" from Subject, then "Video" from Type.  After clicking "Search," you can select "Dance" from Subject choices on the left side, and choose among sub-topics.

American Archive of Public Broadcasting - within this new resource the Special Collections "browse" selection leads to a pre-formulated search for Dance content. Use the "Media Type" filter to select video.

BlackPublicMedia.org - From the National Black Programming Consortium, this resource offers video and sound recordings on a wide array of topics. Offerings vary, but so far there has always been programming on dance, for instance the acclaimed three-part series, Free to Dance (What Do You Dance?; Steps of the Gods; Go For What You Know) and also programs that provide vital insights on dance forms, such as Hip Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes (no longer available at BPM but viewable on YouTube, with associated materials via PBS Independent Lens).  Project links lead, in some cases, to online films.  In addition, the National Black Programming Consortium website offers a Media Center with audio and video webcasts on various topics.

YouTube - YouTube is well-known as a source of trendy, "viral" video content; less well known is YouTube's wealth of both famous and little-known arts performances. General dance content within YouTube is best searched for using keyword terms such as choreographer names, titles of dance works, performer names, etc.; however, the "Channel" browse can yield some gems, like the Balanchine Channel. YouTube submissions tend to be ephemeral, however: for quite some time Paul Taylor's "Black Tuesday" was available complete, but as of 2/17/12 isn't.  Some other programs or segments have remained, like Nureyev: The Russian Years. There's a great full-length program on Katherine Dunham's life and contributions to dance: KETC, Living St. Louis: Katherine Dunham.

Internet Archive - the Internet Archive's Moving Image Archive is a rapidly-expanding source of digital content of all kinds.  In spite of an Arts & Music category, Dance content is best searched for using keyword terms such as "Prokofiev," "Romeo and Juliet," "modern dance," "Nureyev," etc. Be sure to re-select the category "moving images" for each search.