Would you like some assistance with your dance research questions? Sara MacDonald,, is the UArts Libraries liaison to the School of Dance.

This is a selective list of dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other books on dance. REF before the call number indicates location in the Reference Section and in-library use only.

Reference sources are a great place to start your research and get great background information. You'll often find a bibliography of recommended books and articles that you can use in your research.

International Encyclopedia of Dance.
Oxford University Press, 1998.
REF GV1585 .I586 1998 v. 1-6 and online
One of the most important dance publications of the 20th century. A great place to start any kind of dance research. Check the index in volume 6 to find all entries related to your topic. Entries include bibliographies. Also available online. Be sure to scroll down to the "Search within work" box to enter your topic.
International Dictionary of Ballet.
St. James Press, 1993.
REF GV1585 .I57 1993 v. 1-2
Not online - yet - but worth a trip to the library! Covers individual artists (dancers, choreographers, librettists, composers, designers), individual ballets, and ballet companies. Although "ballet" is in the title, this sources covers major non-ballet dance figures such as Merce Cunningham and Mark Morris and designers such as Picasso, Matisse, Gontcharova, and Cocteau. Excellent source; entries include bibliographies.
International Dictionary of Modern Dance.
St. James Press, 1998.
REF GV1585 .I58 1998
Similar to International Dictionary of Ballet above. Includes chronology of modern dance.
Modern Dance Terminology.
Paul Love. Kamin Dance Publishers, 1953.
REF GV1783 .M26
Love interviewed dancers such as Hanya Holm, Martha Graham and Doris Humphrey for assistance with the definitions.
Oxford Companion to the Body.
Colin Blakemore and Sheila Jennett. editors. Oxford University Press, c2001.
REF QM7 .O96 2001 2 volumes
"This book attempts to cover "the 'art' of the human body--cultural, mythological, religious, historical and artistic perspectives--as well as the science." (from the preface) Arranged dictionary-style, with an index and cross-references, you will find definitions for dance, dance notation, mind-body interaction and yoga as well as migraine, fatigue, and the brain. Listed in "Best Consumer Health Books 2002" by Library Journal.
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Body-Mind Disciplines.
Nancy Allison, editor. NY: Rosen Pub. Group, 1999.
REF R733 .I46 1999
What is Feldenkrais Technique? Pilates? Alexander Technique? Reiki? Qigong? What are the benefits of each technique or practice? Look in here to find out.Each entry includes a list of resources and a bibliography.
A to Z of American Women in the Performing Arts.
Liz Sonneborn. Facts on File, c2002.
REF PN2286.8 .S66 2002
Covering the 19th through mid-20th centuries, more than 150 women performers’ biographies are included.
This is a selected list of circulating books and videos on dance.

It is important also to search journals and magazines when looking for information on dance or a specific artist. To find articles on these topics, use the Article Databases.

Dancing Women: Female Bodies on Stage.
Sally Banes. Routledge, 1998.
GV199.4 .B35 1998
Banes reviews dance from the early 19th century through the present, questioning the representations and interpretations of women in dance.
Terpsichore in Sneakers: Post-Modern Dance.
Sally Banes. Wesleyan University Press, 1987.
GV1783 .B36 1987
Banes reviews dance from the early 19th century through the present, questioning the representations and interpretations of women in dance.
Plenty of Good Women Dancers: African American Women Hoofers from Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Folklore Project, 2004.
Periodical indexes are research tools that allow you to search for articles in magazines, journals and newspapers.

You can always begin your search for articles in OneSearch, the default search box on the library home page.

If you'd like to explore some other article options, go to the library's Article Databases page for a list of the UArts Libraries' subscription databases. Check out the following for dance:
EBSCOhost has a lot of full-text and scholarly articles covering a wide range of subjects.
JSTOR is all full-text, scholarly articles. Not good for recent articles.
Nexis Uni is mostly newspaper articles. It is full-text and updated daily, which makes it great for current reviews. Available on-campus only.
ProQuest: The Arts has full-text and scholarly articles and plenty of non-scholarly sources. It focuses solely on the visual and performing arts.

I found articles I want to read. Now what?
There are different ways to find an article once you retrieve a citation in the index:

See if there's a PDF or HTML icon under your citation. If yes, download it or e-mail it to yourself.
Use interlibrary loan to request materials not owned by the UArts Libraries.


Looking for videos and DVDs of dance held by the UArts Libraries? There are a number of ways to search the library catalog.

  • In the search by box, you can select

      AUTHOR for choreographers (remember, LAST NAME FIRST: graham, martha) or for names of dance companies;
      TITLE for the title of the video or DVD;
      KEYWORD for names of particular pieces, e.g., "appalachian spring";

    then select "Video" in the search in box. Videocassettes and DVDs will be searched.

  • You can also BROWSE video and DVD titles by going to the catalog and selecting Call Number Search, then search for other call numbers, and reading the instructions for "Other Call Number" searches in the catalog.

  • You can find videos and DVDs by doing a broad subject search such as BALLETS and then LIMIT YOUR SEARCH by MATERIAL TYPE.

You may also be interested in our streaming video databases: Academic Video Online: Premium, Kanopy Streaming, and (OntheBoards is available on-campus only).

See also Dance-Tech: The Social Network for Innovators in Motion, Numeridanse, UbuWeb Dance, and Accelerated Motion.

Still can't find what you need? Please ask for help any time.

Style Manuals: Citing Your Sources

When you find information on a topic, no matter what format it takes (book, journal, Web page), there are style manuals to show you the correct way to give cite those sources in a paper.

There are many excellent dance-related websites for dance companies, organizations, and digital collections. They provide access to images, articles, videos, and other scholarship.

American Society of Capoeira and Arts from Brazil/Philadelphia Capoeira Arts Center
The capoeira studio of former UArts School of Dance faculty member Adenilson Dos Santos.
"Culturebot is a publication devoted to critical thought about experimental performance. We use publishing as an act of legitimization for a marginalized sector of the art world. We do not publish traditional reviews, but seek to enter into dialogue with work through critical thought that takes on various creative forms. ... We strive for our writing to point out from the performance rather than pointing at it."--from About
Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive
"An ever-growing collection of dance videos filmed at Jacob's Pillow from the 1930s to today, plus new illustrated essays."
National Dance Education Organization
"The National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and promotion of high quality education in the art of dance."
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Be sure to look at the NYPL Jerome Robbins Dance Division. Like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. See also their list of open (free!) resources.
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