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Dance Research Guide: Writing about dance; citing sources

a guide to outstanding dance resources for research and enrichment

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Writing dance reviews and papers Dance criticism
Digital craftsmanship; Copyright-related concerns Style/citation guides and other help ; Citation tools ; Writing dance reviews and papers, cont'd

Writing dance reviews and papers

Writing About Dance / Human Kinetics      Writing About Dance (ebook, Human Kinetics, 2010) guides students through the various processes of writing about dance, from the informal (journal writing and free writing) to the formal (critiques, essays and research papers).  A print copy of this
book is available in the main stacks by call number GV1594 O45 2010. Details

History of Dance: an Interactive Arts Approach (Human Kinetics, 2007). This excellent book has some unexpected bonuses for the dance writer:  Appendix A is "How to Write Your 

Research Paper;" Appendix D is "Dance Reconstruction or Re-Creation Project," and Appendix E, "Report of a Live or Videotaped Performance." Located in the main stacks, [Quarto] GV1601 K37 2007. Preview [Note: the 2nd edition, 2017, presents a fine history of dance but lacks these how-to elements.]

  Research Methods in the Dance Sciences (ebook, University Press of Florida, 2023).  A comprehensive guide to conducting empirical research in dance, introducing concepts and practices that support effective, empirical research in the dance
sciences, including medical science. Part I. Bringing Science to Dance -- Researching Dance -- Ways of Knowing -- Research Concepts -- Part II. Creating a Foundation for Research. -- Reviewing Research Literature and Choosing a Topic -- Types of Research  -- Research Ethics and Research Ethics Committees -- Writing a Literature Review / Sarah J. Kenny and Jeffrey -- Part III. Designing and Conducting Research. -- Participants, Setting, and Variables -- Managing, Analyzing, and Presenting Data -- Methodological Integrity and Research Design -- Part IV. Choosing a Research Methodology. -- Descriptive Research Methods -- Surveys, Questionnaires, and Interviews -- Qualitative Methodologies -- Correlation and Regression Analyses -- Case Studies, Case Reports, and Case Series -- Within-Subject Experiments -- Between-Group Experiments -- Systematic Literature Reviews -- Epidemiology Research in Dance -- Part V. Influencing the Field -- Proposing and Reporting Research -- Applying Research Findings to Practice -- Part VI. Pursuing a Career in the Dance Sciences -- Pursuing Graduate Studies -- Building a Researcher’s Repertoire.
  Undergraduate research in dance : a guide for students (ebook, Routledge, 2019) supplies tools for scaffolding research skills, alongside examples of undergraduate research in dance scholarship. Looking at dance as an embodied art form with
physical, cognitive, and affective domains, this work views dance as an integral part of society, history, and interdisciplinary studies, with the aim of moving the field of dance research forward. 1. Overview  -- 2. Literature reviews -- 3. Choosing topics and formulating appropriate research questions or project goals -- 4. Working with human subjects -- 5. Collecting data -- 6. Analyzing and synthesizing data -- 7. Arts-based research in dance -- 8. Citing sources -- 9. Dissemination of results -- 10. Dance/movement therapy -- 11. Interdisciplinary projects -- 12. Public scholarship and dance -- 13. Choreography as original research -- 14. Cultural studies in dance -- 15. Discovery of knowledge in dance history -- 16. Dance science -- 17. Psychological and cognitive aspects of dance -- 18. Application and activation: Choreography interacting with digital media -- 19. Dance education -- 20. Online resources.
  The Bloomsbury companion to dance studies (ebook, Bloomsbury Academic, 2019) brings together leading international dance scholars in this single collection to provide a vivid picture of the state of contemporary dance research.
The book begins with an introduction that depicts dancing as both a site of knowledge formation and a methodological approach, followed by an overview of the methods and problems that dance studies currently faces as an established disciplinary field. The volume contains eleven core chapters that each map out a specific area of inquiry. Although these sub-disciplinary domains do not fully capture the dynamic ways in which dance scholars work across multiple positions and perspectives, they reflect the major interests and innovations around which dance studies has organized its teaching and research.

1. Introduction -- 2. Research Methods and Problems -- Current Research and Issues -- 3. Dance Pedagogy -- 4. Practice-as-Research -- 5. Dance and Politics -- 6. Dance and Identity -- 7. Dance Science -- 8. Screendance Harmony Bench -- 9. Dance Ethnography -- 10. Popular Dance -- 11. Dance History -- 12. Dance and Philosophy -- 13. Digital Dance -- 14. New Directions -- 15. Annotated Bibliography -- 16. A to Z of Key Concepts in Dance Studies.

Researching Dance: Evolving Modes of Inquiry  

Researching Dance:  Evolving Modes of Inquiry (ebook, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999).  Directed toward graduate or honors students, this work introduces readers to research methods in dance.  Part I examines and defines the discipline

of dance. Parts 2 and 3 present essays by other dance scholars on qualitative and quantitative inquiry and the most common approaches for researching dance. The research process is examined in detail, in cluding philosophy and aesthetics, historical scholarship, movement analysis, sex, gender and cultural diversity issues, and resources available to students (in this sense the book will be incomplete, having been published in 1999). Study questions, research exercises, and suggested readings are included. Also available in print, GV1589 R47 1999. For an example, see Chapter 3, "Theory-making and the Creation of New Knowledge."

Digital craftsmanship; Copyright resources

Some selected resources are below.

TCU Center for Digital Expression - TCU's CfDE provides information and guidance for the use of many different types of materials, for students, faculty and staff, geared to a variety of academic assignments and professional purposes. Its copyright-related page, additionally, offers links and tools such as the Fair Use Evaluator.

On the Student Resources page, you can scroll down to Audio / Video / Images / Document design / Presentation design – for example, under Images: Tips and Tools is "Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images."

Other copyright-related resources

The Art of Dance Composition: Writing the Body / Routledge, 2024 has a lengthy chapter on intellectual property, notably on the use of music in dance, but extends beyond that to include aspects such as movement.

Copyright Primer for the Dance Community / Dance Heritage Coalition, 2003

Best Practices in Fair Use of Dance-related materials / Dance Heritage Coalition, 2009 (via the Center for Media and Social Impact)

What are the copyright guidelines for music, video and other multimedia items? / TCU Library "LibAnswers" FAQ (links to online guides)

Transmission in Motion : the Technologizing of Dance [ebook] / Routledge, 2016 - chapter, Digital Dance : The Challenges for Traditional Copyright Law

The art of dance composition : writing the body [ebook/ Routledge, 2024 - chapters, What is not dance? and Intellectual property 

Writing dance reviews and papers, cont'd


Dance History: an Introduction (Routledge, 1994).  Chapter 15, entitled Writing Dance History, is by June Layson.  Other chapters by Layson include Historical Perspectives in the Study of Dance and Dance

History Source Materials (which includes evaluation thereof. Located in the main stacks, GV1589 D38 1994. Preview, 2006
  Rethinking Dance History: Issues and Methodologies (ebook, Routledge, 2018). Though not a concise how-to, this excellent volume illustrates the issues in producing dance histories and gives real-world examples. Part 1: Why Dance History? Part 2: Researching and Writing.

Dance criticism

A "Subject heading" search for "dance criticism" leads to a number of works on the technique of dance criticism.  Some examples are below.


Writing Dancing in the Age of Postmodernism (ebook, Wesleyan University Press, 1994) analyzes the process of dance criticism, exploring its modes, methods and underlying assumptions, and examines the work of selected critics.  Contents 

include a section on writing dance criticism and history. Also available in print, GV1723 B36 1994.
Critical Gestures: Writings on Dance and Culture / Wesleyan University Press  

Critical Gestures: Writings on Dance and Culture (Wesleyan University Press, 2002) includes chapters titled Looking Underneath the Itch to Criticize; Writing about Dance: An Urgent, High-Profile Opportunity; The Interested Act of Dance

Criticism; Writing Dance and many intriguing writing samples. Located in the main stacks, GV1783 D35 2002. Preview

Writing Dancing Together (ebook, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) guides the dance writer/researcher toward in-depth thought and analytical writing.


Moving History / Dancing Cultures (ebook, Wesleyan University Press, 2001) includes chapters titled The Pleasures of Studying Dance History; Beyond Description: Writing Beneath the

Surface (Deborah Jowitt); Imagining Dance; Five Premises for a Culturally Sensitive Approach to Dance, and much, much more. Preview

Style/citation guides and other help

Citation and style

MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing - searchable online

Owl Online at Purdue University offers A very handy online MLA Formatting and Style Guide.

Other style guides, plus citation tools, available from the Databases page (faq)

Knight Cite

This handy tool from Calvin College, Michigan lets you select one of three style manuals (including MLA), select the type of resource (book, encyclopedia, etc.), and type the details into boxes, after which it produces the finished citation for you.

Searching, evaluating sources, writing (general)

MLA Guide to Digital Literacy

What Is Digital Literacy? / Understanding Filters and Algorithms, Bots, and Visual Manipulation / Understanding Online Searches / Conducting Online Research / Go to the (Primary) Source! /  Surveying the Conversation by Reading Laterally / Exploring the Credibility of Sources / Working with Your Sources / Additional Strategies and Resources / Customizing Your Online Experience / Appendix: Sample Lesson Plans

TCU FAQ: What are scholarly, peer-reviewed articles?

A Writer's Reference

This Bedford/St. Martins book, 2011, covers important basic writing and researching procedures in chapters titled Composing and revising; Academic writing; Sentence style; Word choice; Grammatical sentences; ESL challenges; Punctuation; Mechanics; Researching; MLA, APA/CMS [style]; Basic grammar.   Located in the Reference stacks by call number PE 1408 H2778.


The TCU Writing Center

The TCU Writing Center provides personal coaching on the entire process of writing a paper, from focusing your initial ideas to properly formatting a footnote.  Its main office is located in Reed Hall, room 419.  Online help is available through the Writing Center's website.

Citation tools

The TCU Library offers a number of tools for compiling and editing citations you compile for possible use in papers or other projects. Refworks is one, with a how-to video at ; also EndNote is available, with an instructional guide at citation apps can be chosen from the alphabetical lists on the Databases page - the Databases tab is on the library's home page at