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Dance Research Guide: Professional associations

a guide to outstanding dance resources for research and enrichment

Dance professional associations / Scholarly societies

Professional associations

Dance USA

Dance/USA is a national service organization for not-for-profit professional dance, which seeks to advance the artform of dance by addressing the needs, concerns and interests of professional dance. Membership currently includes over 250 ballet, modern, ethnic, jazz, culturally specific, traditional and tap companies, dance service organizations, presenters and individuals. The site includes information on dance-related resources and publications.  A surprising plus is the Facts and Figures section, a multi-layer resource with statistics on many aspects of the dance world.  Other sections include Government Affairs and Advice for Young Dancers.

National Dance Association - now part of the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America), formerly known as the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance

The National Dance Association (NDA) was originally established as the section on Dance in 1932 by the American Physical Education Association (APEA), a forerunner to the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (AAHPER), later to add Dance (AAHPERD). Historically, NDA supported a membership network of 2,000 individual dance educators, institutional and affiliate members, serving as a resource for federal/state agencies and arts/education organizations.  The goal of the former National Dance Association was to promote quality dance programs in the areas of health, physical education, recreation and dance.  Now some of these concerns are absorbed into SHAPE (formerly AAHPERD) which also offers a Career page.

National Dance Education Organization

NDEO is a nonprofit organization dedication to the advancement of high-quality dance education, offering advocacy, resources and support to dancers, dance educators and administrators.  NDEO sponsors a national dance honor society, among its many pursuits, as well as conferences and workshops; job and internship opportunities; professional networking and an online community; curriculum standards; research tools, publications and projects.

Dance Educators of America 

DEA is a not-for-profit professional organization dedicated to improving the quality of dance teaching and learning, in addition to enhancing professional and ethical standards in the performing and stage-based arts, by means of its carefully-selected membership of experienced educators. DEA offers seminars and workshops in this pursuit, most notably a teacher training and certification program.

Scholarly societies

Dance Studies Association: new umbrella organization for two notable scholarly dance organizations, CORD and SDHS

Congress on Research in Dance (CORD), now merged into the Dance Studies Association, was for many years a nonprofit organization encouraging research in all aspects of dance and related fields and promotes access to research materials, creating opportunities for dance professionals and scholars to exchange ideas, resources and methodologies through publication, international and regional conferences and workshops. Now merged with the Society of Dance History Scholars to form the DSA, it is a more powerful force than ever in the field of dance research.

Society of Dance History Scholars advanced the field of dance studies through research, publication, performance, and outreach to audiences across the arts, humanities, and social sciences.  Earlier on, as a member of the American Council of Learned Societies, SDHS held annual conferences, publishes new scholarship through its proceedings and monograph series (Studies in Dance History), collaborated with peer organizations in the United States and abroad, and presented yearly awards for exemplary scholarship. After five years of successful consecutive joint conferences and sustained collaboration by the Boards of Directors of CORD - Congress on Research in Dance - and SDHS, CORD and SDHS consolidated their resources in 2017 to form the Dance Studies Association. DSA extends the work of those two organizations.

Dance Heritage Coalition: product of another merger 

Now integrated into Dance USA's Archiving and Preservation division, DHC was, in its own words, a "national alliance of institutions holding significant collections of materials documenting the history of dance. Its mission is to preserve, make accessible, enhance and augment the materials that document the artistic accomplishments in dance of the past, present, and future. The DHC pursues its mission by encouraging, initiating, and developing collaborative projects among the dance communities, library and archival fields, scholarly institutions, and individuals in four essential areas: access to materials, the continuing documentation of dance employing both traditional methods and developing technologies, preservation of existing documentation, and education within and beyond the field of dance."  A wealth of publications and information had been available on DHC's original site; this DHC site is now archived by the Library of Congress at https://webarchive.loc.gov/all/2018120522142/http://www.danceheritage.org/index.html . This web page is more concerned with the Irreplaceable Treasures project.   

Dance Notation Bureau

The DNB, a nonprofit entity, preserves dances by producing and housing Labanotated scores by artists such as George Balanchine, paul Taylor, Antony Tudor, Bill T. Jones, Doris Humphrey, William Forsythe, Jose Limon, Laura Dean, and about 155 others.  In addition, each year DNG assists in staging some 40 works from scores.  The Notated Theatrical Dances Catalog 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 expects 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 as of 2009.

Dance Librarian

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Laura Ruede
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