Dance Heritage Coalition’s secure media network of digitized archival dance videos, formerly known as the Dance Preservation and Digitization Project, has been donated to the University of Southern California. With generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, USC Libraries and the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance have re-launched the collection as the Dance History Video Archive (DHVA). The collection preserves culturally significant recordings that document global and U.S. dance traditions, creative work by outstanding choreographers and performers, and performances that helped to advance the art form. The DHVA makes a selection of archival videos accessible through USC’s Digital Library, and continues to add new materials to the collection.
Dance/USA and Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC) announced the integration of DHC’s preservation, archives, and education programs into Dance/USA. The leaders of these two nonprofit organizations, which share a mission to serve and support the dance field, are enthusiastic about the possibilities for collaboration and expanded services that will be created by this partnership.
During 2017 and 2018, Dance/USA and DHC will work together to implement the transition and develop a robust model for integrating programs, resources, and memberships, as well as piloting new joint projects. Dance/USA will launch a peer network for dance archivists which will meet through quarterly conference calls and an in-person gathering at Dance/USA’s annual conferences, ensuring that DHC’s founding mission to promote collaboration and information-sharing in the field will continue. “One of the great advantages of working more closely with Dance/USA will be the increase in opportunities for dance artists and archivists to meet and work together,” said DHC’s acting executive director, Imogen Smith. “DHC has documented the creative potential in collaborations between artists, archivists, and scholars, and we anticipate that this relationship with Dance/USA will catalyze more such collaborations in the future.” To learn more about the integration click here.
Dance/USA is now welcoming DHC members and those interested in connecting with Dance Heritage Coalition to join Dance/USA in the newly created category of Dance Heritage Affiliates. To learn more about membership click here and here for FAQs
DHC offered consultations in the smART Bar as well as successfully presented at the Dance/USA conference this year.
Ask an Archivist: A Workshop in Preserving Your Legacy
Presented by Imogen Smith, Genie Guerard and Nena Couch
Looking for answers about how to preserve and manage your records? Dance/USA recently announced the newly updated and redesigned Artist’s Legacy Tooklit and Records Management Guide. Created by archivists from the Dance Heritage Coalition, the Toolkit and Guide offer reliable and user-friendly advice, tools, and templates to help performing artists and their organizations save and share the records of their work. This new free resource is available on the Dance/USA website.To get started, find tips on Using the Toolkit, see the index of tools on the main page, or explore the resource by clicking the photos in the main menu. You can find templates for creating inventories; advice on proper storage and disaster planning; information about making materials accessible, and best practices for storing and organizing digital files, as well as links to vetted sources of information.
Artists at all stages of their careers benefit from good records management systems. Not only will these practices ensure the long-term preservation of your artistic legacy, but they can save time and enable you to actively use your records for re-staging, marketing, education, engagement, creative repurposing, and fundraising.
If you have questions or comments, contact Imogen Smith, Director of Archiving & Preservation, via email or call her at 202.833.1717 x303.
Dance/USA launched its first pilot Fellowships in Dance Archiving, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Fellows located in Los Angeles and Chicago received mentorship from experienced dance archivists and had opportunities to complete independent practicums with active dance organizations. Fellows kept blogs documenting their experiences and reflections on their projects: https://www.danceusa.org/our-fellows
Integration of DHC’s programs into Dance/USA is complete!
Dance/USA’s Archiving and Preservation department provides archival consultation to dance companies, including assistance with archival inventories, preservation, digitizing, and legacy planning. In 2018, Dance/USA has archiving contracts with Dance Theatre of Harlem and Lotus Music & Dance. Additionally, Dance/USA’s Director of Archiving & Preservation leads a team providing archiving services to Mark Morris Dance Group.
Dance Heritage Coalition History
Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC) was founded in 1992 to address problems in documenting and preserving the records of dance, problems which were identified in a study commissioned by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. This study, titled Images of American Dance, recommended the formation of an alliance of the nation’s major dance collections to facilitate communication; develop national standards, policies and priorities; and implement collaborative activities and projects in the fields of dance preservation, documentation, and access. In 1996, the DHC was incorporated as a nonprofit organization.
DHC’s programs and projects fell into four main categories:
Preserving and processing archives, including both collections held by archival institutions and collections still held by choreographers and dance companies, and making finding aids for dance research collections available online.
Digital initiatives, including preservation-level digitization of endangered video recordings of dance and developing a Secure Media Network to provide scholarly access to these materials.
Fellowships for library science students providing mentorship and hands-on experience working with dance collections.
Educational resources, including America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100 (website and travelling exhibition); the copyright project to develop a Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use; and the Artist’s Legacy Toolkit.
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