Dance Research Resources

Dance videos. DVDs and VHS tapes in the OSU collections, including "Eye on Dance" programs.

Dance periodical indexes

  • Performing Arts Periodicals Database. Indexes several dozen dance periodicals from the 1970s to the present and also offers indexes and abstracts of periodicals dating back to 1864. The full texts of recent issues of some dance journals are searchable through this database. 
  • International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance. Includes full text for more than 100 journals, and citations, often with abstracts. Indexes journal articles, books, and dissertations on all aspects of theater and performance. Includes all of the content available in the 14-volume printed International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance.
  • New York Public Library Catalog. Includes dance periodical indexing from the late 19th century to 2001. (Do a keyword search, and then choose BOOK/TEXT in the left column.)

Multidisciplinary periodical indexes (including dance periodicals)

  • Web of Science Citation Index. A multidisciplinary database that covers several major dance journals, though not as many as the databases listed above. Offers cited reference searching, allowing researchers to locate other journal articles which cite a specific work, or works by a particular author.
  • JSTOR. Multidisciplinary full-text database covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities, including important dance journals.


  • ProQuest Dissertations & Theses. Contains citations for dissertations and theses done at U.S., Canadian and some foreign institutions. Free PDFs of almost all dissertations done since 1997.
  • British Library EThOS Service. Search c. half a million doctoral theses from UK institutions. Download instantly, or order a scanned copy quickly and easily.

Online reference works

  • International Encyclopedia of Dance. Articles by scholars from many countries. Covers dance— theatrical, ritual, dance-drama, folk, traditional, ethnic, and social dance. Cultural and national overviews are accompanied by entries on dance forms, music and costumes, performances, and biographies of dancers and choreographers.
  • Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance. Ancient Greek theater to modern London, Paris, New York. Dance, opera, radio, film, television, and popular performance, including carnivals, circus, and public executions. Entries range from short definitions of terms to substantive examinations of genres and movements. Entries on cities and regions place performance in its local social and political context.

Library catalogs

  • OSU Library Catalog. Look for dance books and videos available at the Music & Dance Library and other OSU libraries.
  • OhioLINK. A combined ("union") catalog of most Ohio college and university libraries. If an item is not available at OSU (not listed in the online catalog, checked out, etc.), search for it in this database and make an online request to have it sent here. The service is free, and most OhioLINK items arrive in three to five business days.
  • OCLC WorldCat. If you cannot locate an item in our online catalog or in the OhioLINK catalog, search this union catalog of thousands of libraries around the world. Many items can be requested by interlibrary loan, and you can make the request on line. If you need help, ask any staff member for assistance.
Other online research resources

  • Best of the Web Resources in Dance. Selected by librarians in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, New York Public Library. Archived site, no longer updated, but nevertheless useful.
  • Open Vault - WGBH. Historically important content produced by the public television and radio station WGBH. Includes audio, video, images, searchable transcripts. 
  • Hathi Trust. More than ten million digitized books and journals.
  • Lincoln Kirstein Writings. Lincoln Kirstein was co-founder, with George Balanchine, of the School of American Ballet and the New York City Ballet.
  • Dance Index. The journal Dance Index was founded by Lincoln Kirstein in 1942. Over the following seven years, 56 issues were published, presenting original scholarship on a wide range of dance subjects. In the spirit of its predecessor, the new Dance Index examines the multi-dimensional richness and diversity of the world of dance. Its intention is to surprise and excite a general audience with a new level of understanding and appreciation of the real and critical importance of dance in contemporary culture.
  • Society of Dance History Scholars. Advances the field of dance studies through research, publication, performance, and outreach to audiences across the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
  • National Dance Education Organization. A non-profit organization dedicated to promoting standards of excellence in dance education by providing the dance artist and the dance educator a network of resources and support, a base for advocacy, and access to programs and projects that focus on the importance of dance.
  • Society for Dance Research. An internationally focused, British-based non-profit society that supports and develops scholarly interests in all forms of dance through seminars, conferences, performances, and publications.
  • Congress on Research in Dance. A non-profit organization that provides opportunities for dance professionals from a broad range of specialties to exchange ideas, resources, and methodologies through publication, international and regional conferences, and workshops.
  • Dance USA. Advances professional dance by addressing the needs, concerns, and interests of artists, administrators, and organizations.

                        Streaming audio                           Streaming video

Search Naxos, DRAM, Jacob's Pillow Dance, On the Boards and Films on Demand individually. The others can be searched individually or, using Advanced Search : Music & Performing Arts, simultaneously.

Naxos Music Library (Classical)   Dance in Video
Naxos Music Library (Jazz) Ethnographic Video Online
DRAM - Database of Recorded American Music Jacob's Pillow Dance
Smithsonian Global Sound Films on Demand
Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Classical Music in Video
Jazz Music Library On the Boards
Contemporary World Music Opera in Video
American Song Classical Music Library
Met Opera on Demand

Tips on searching

Library catalogs list books, DVDs, journal titles, CDs, microfilms — everything but articles. To find articles, search article databases. See also these videos: Dance Research Resources: International Encyclopedia of Dance, Dance Research Resources: Vogue Archive, Advanced Searching in the Ohio State library catalog, Searching for items in the OhioLINK catalog for Ohio State users, Ohio State Music & Dance Streaming Resources.

Tips on searching catalogs

You can search by KEYWORDS (usually the default), but you may get more comprehensive results by AUTHOR, SUBJECT, or TITLE searching:

  • By dancer or company or choreographer (AUTHOR search) - Examples: Baryshnikov, Mikhail or Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater or Tharp, Twyla
  • By "unique" title (TITLE or KEYWORD search) - Examples: West Side Story or Billy the Kid (not generic titles like Symphony no. 1 or Concerto in D)
  • By dance type/form (SUBJECT search) - Examples: ballets or tangos 
  • By instrumentation (SUBJECT or KEYWORD search) - Example: flute and guitar music
  • By performers (AUTHOR search) - Examples: Cleveland Orchestra or Nureyev, Rudolf

You can narrow the results of your search to sound recordings or video recordings or books, etc., by first performing an AUTHOR, TITLE, SUBJECT, or KEYWORD search, and then choosing the LIMIT /SORT or MODIFY SEARCH option and selecting MATERIAL TYPE, then MUSIC RECORD (for recordings) or SERIAL/JOURNAL (for magazines) or BOOK, and then clicking FIND or SUBMIT.

Tips on searching article databases

Practically all databases are browsable by title and subject. But databases differ in the way they treat search terms, and it may save you time to consult the HELP pages first. Some databases offer the full text of articles. Others help you find out which articles exist in which journals. Generally, you can search by KEYWORD, using an author's name or a subject term as one of your keywords (or two or three words as a phrase, enclosed in quotation marks), and then LIMIT/SORT the results of your search by date, language, journal, etc. If the full text of an article is not available, take note of the article citation (journal title, month/year, volume number, article title, inclusive page numbers), and then check the library catalogs to see if OSU or an OhioLINK library owns the journal that contains the article you need. You can request a scan of the article via Article Express.

If you have checked the OSU Library Catalog and the Music & Dance Library does not own the item you need, search for it in the OhioLINK catalog — a union catalog of more than 80 Ohio libraries. You can request OhioLINK books, scores, and recordings online and usually receive them within 3 to 5 business days at a pickup location you specify.