Presented by Imogen Smith, Genie Guerard and Nena Couch
L-R - DHC: Genie Guerard, Imogen Smith, Nena Couch, Hedra Packman Dance/USA: Michelle Ramos & Doug Singleton
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.
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 (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:
1) 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.
2) Digital initiatives, including preservation-level digitization of endangered videorecordings of dance and developing a Secure Media Network to provide scholarly access to these materials.
3) Fellowships for library science students providing mentorship and hands-on experience working with dance collections.
4) 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.
Dance Heritage Coalition's website has been archived by the Library of Congress and is viewable in LoC's website archive.