University of Oregon


The following is a selected list of resources for starting research in Dance. Most of these resources are located in the Knight Library on the second floor, with reference resources on the third floor in the Music Services reference collection. For further assistance, contact Ann Shaffer, Music and Dance Librarian, at 

Starting Your Research

These sources can help you identify a topic for your research. Some provide an overview of a specific issue and suggest other materials which might be useful for your research. Others help you to notice a topic that might be of interest to you.

  • Bibliographies of Topics in Dance


      Search the Z7514 .D2's on the Music Reference index table.
      (One of the most comprehensive is Mary Bopp's Research in dance: a guide to resources. [MUS. REF. Z7514 .D2 B6 1994])


  • Subject Encyclopedias
      Look at encyclopedias for background on your topic and bibliographies. The latest ones for Dance are located in MUSIC REFERENCE on the index table. They provide essay-type articles and a list of citations. A few titles include: 
    • International Encyclopedia of Dance
      [MUS. REF. GV 1585 .I586 1998 (6 vols.)]
      A multi-volume resource on all dance that is also available online (to UO patrons) in the Library's title section as the International Encyclopedia of Dance

    • International Dictionary of Ballet
      [MUS. REF. GV 1585 .I57 1993]

    • International Dictionary of Modern Dance
      [MUS REF. GV 1585 .I58 1998 (2 vols.)]

    • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
      [MUS. REF. ML100 .N48 2000].
      Excellent scholarly articles on dance forms, with comprehensive bibliographies. This resource is available online (to UO patrons) through the title Oxford Music Online.

    • The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music
      [MUS. REF.ML100 .G16 1998 (10 vols.)]
      A multi-volume encyclopedia with excellent articles on music and dance in cultures around the world.
  • Dance Dictionaries



      Consult these sources (as well as the encyclopedias above) for definitions of terms in dance: 
    • Oxford Dictionary of Dance
      [MUS. REF. GV1585 .C78 2000]
      A good one-stop place to consult for terms and genres of dance. Also available on the Library's web site (to UO patrons) by the title: Oxford Dictionary of Dance.

    • Glossarist: Dance glossaries and dance dictionaries
      An online resource that allows you to search a multitude of web sites for specific dance terms- and provides free access to all users.

    • American Ballet Theatre's Online Dictionary
      This dictionary defines 170 terms from the Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet. It uses QuickTime movies to demonstrate some of the movements.


Finding Journal Articles

    To look for articles in journals, newspapers, or magazines, you will need to start with an index. An index will allow you to look by subject or a few keywords which describe your topic or by author.
    If you are not sure what indexes to use, click on the UO Libraries' web site, under Articles, Databases, Indexes, then go to the Subject Index list for Dance. This list includes a number of important online indexes and connections to resources that can help you do your research. Indexes to Dance Articles in Dance-specific Indexes:
  • NYPL Dance Catalog
    This catalog includes indexing to dance journals and articles.
    To search for articles about dance, dancers, choreographers, and other topics in dance, use the search box (choosing whether you want to search subject (for items about a topic); author (for items by a performer or author); or keyword (when you really don't know what the articles will be under).
    Once you've typed your search term in the box, scroll down the Collection list to the bottom- the Dance Research Collection is third from the bottom. Click on that to limit your search to just that collection, then click on the Submit button.
    Once your search has come up, you can further limit the results to just books and articles by clicking on the Limit Sort Search button, and choosing Book/Text and Submit.
    When you get your results, note which ones have just an author, title, and year- those are the journal articles. To get the full citations (so that you can search our collection), click on the underlined title of the items.
    (Keep in mind that the UO may not own that journal, so make sure you've saved your search results!)

  • If the following indexes list Mus. Ref as part of their call numbers, they are paper indexes-and they are located on the Music Services index table, at the entrance to Music Services, on the third floor of the Knight Library.
    • Index to Dance Periodicals: 2000
      [MUS. REF. Z7514 .D2 I53 2000]
      One year's paper version of the New York Public Library's Dance Catalog- with only journal articles.

    • Dance Abstracts and Index
      [MUS. REF. GV1594 .D35 - we have 1989 and 1990]
      A specialized dance index that includes abstracts of the articles, as well as citations to books, dissertations and theses. One limitation: we only have two years of this!

    • Guide to Dance Periodicals
      [MUS. REF. Z7514 .D2 G8 - we own 1936/40 - 1961/62]
      A printed index that indexes early editions of many of the early dance journals, including Ballet Today, Dance News, and other important dance resources.

    • This resource was absorbed by Guide to the Performing Arts (which we have from 1957 - 1968)
      [MUS. REF. ML118 .G8]


Databases that Index Journal Articles on Dance

  • Academic Search Premier
    A general online index that has articles on dance in society, and connects to full-text journal articles.
    This archive of online journals provides browsing capability of the full journals, including the Dance Chronicle, Dance Research, and the CORD News, through the Browse screen, under Performing Arts.
    Note that most journals stop within five years of the current subscription and only the journals listed above are indexed in this source. Use FindText to find our current online journals.
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index
    A specialized index, part of the ISI Web of Knowledge, that allows you to trace the sources important writers use in their articles-both forward and backward.
    One of the best ways to get to know this source is to view the short videos available on ways to search, offered in the bottom right-hand side of the screen, entitled Training & Support. They help you find the best way to search in the AHCI, as well as doing specialized searches, such as for cited authors.
  • Music Index
    Issues from 1949 to 2000 are in paper on the Music Services reference shelves [Call number = MUS. REF. ML118 .M84].
    A good general starting point for research about dance, indexing many of the standard dance journals. This resource also indexes dissertations.
  • RILM Music Abstracts
    This online index is especially strong for dance articles in other languages and other cultures. This resource also indexes dissertations and part of books.
  • SportDiscus
    An index of sport and physical education periodicals published in English or French. This is especially useful for articles on physiology, kinesiology, and dance therapy. Indexing is available from 1949 to the present.

Databases for finding Dissertations and Theses:

  • Dissertation Abstracts
    This general index to dissertations and theses, going back to 1861, provides abstracts and information about the degree granted. Caveat:We rarely own these dissertations in our library, but you can use the FindText button to go to the form for requesting these through Interlibrary loan.

Finding News and Magazine Articles on Dance

  • New York Times Index (1851-2004)
    The most important reviewing medium for dance in New York, where much of American dance is formed. Premieres of works and new choreographers are reviewed here first, in many cases.
    [Note: For current newspaper reviews, consult
    Newspaper Source]
  • Reader's Guide Retrospective
    An index to magazine articles going from 1890 to 1982, and a wealth of information about all kinds of dances and choreographers.

Finding the Journals

  • After identifying articles which look useful for your research, look up the title of the journal or magazine in LibrarySearch to determine if the Library subscribes to this title and get the call number and location. Use the FindText button on each entry to determine if electronic access is possible, or to order the article through Interlibrary Loan, if our copy is not available.
  • To find online versions of dance journals, use the FindText feature on the Library's web catalog, under Journal Titles, and search by the title of the journal.
  • Browse through the table of contents of current dance journals. These are kept on the second floor on the Current Periodicals shelves. Most of the dance journals will be found in the GV 1580 - 1790 section of the shelves.
  • For a list of the dance journals owned by the University of Oregon, see Dance Journals at the UO

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Finding Books

  • LibrarySearch
    Identify books by topic, title or author; identify journals and magazines owned by the UO Library. To find journal articles on your topic, use the databases listed in the section above. Once you have a citation, you can check the library catalog by doing a title search on the name of the journal to see if we have it here.
    • You can use LibrarySearch to find materials beyond UO's library as well!  Use the Search Scope menu to find resources from:
  • Summit Catalog
    Summit is a consortium of Northwest libraries that share materials with each other, which more than doubles the amount of research material you have access to. You can borrow books not owned by the UO Library by selecting the Request Item option. You should receive the books in about 5 working days. Summit works only for books and other items, not journals. If you want to request a journal articles, you'll need to fill out an InterLibrary Loan (ILL) form, which is available from the FindText button on the library's web site.
  • WorldCat
    WorldCat provides access to library catalogs from around the world. The database contains bibliographic records describing books, journals, maps, musical scores, manuscripts, etc.  To request material you find in WorldCat, use InterLibrary Loan.  Articles are sent electronically and come very quickly, but physical items can take between 7 days and 3 weeks to arrive.

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Finding VIDEOS on Dance


  • Begin your search in the Advanced Search option in the LibrarySearch catalog by limiting the Material Type to Video.  Once you've started a search, you can use the facets on the left sidebar of your results screen to filter your results.
  • Search the Library's catalog by Author for performers and composers of ballets and dance.
  • Search the Library's catalog by Subject for types of dances (e.g. Tango; Ballroom Dancing, etc.)
  • Search the Library's catalog by Keyword for videos whose titles you know.
  • Browse the Library's videos (DVDs, laserdiscs and VHS) by genre, using the Browse by Genre page, found by clicking on the UO Library's home page at Videos & Music, then scrolling to the bottom of the page, for Browse all videos by genre.
  • Browse the covers of DVDs in the Reserve/Video room on the first floor of the Knight Library. There are a couple of sections for Dance materials there, including Dance, Dance Instructional and Dance Performance. (Don't forget Musicals and Autobiographical films.)
  • See the UO Dance Videos Web Site (at for a preliminary list of dance videos held by the UO.
  • Explore our new Dance in Video, which allows you to have access to over 250 videos online, make segments for classes, and enjoy access to many of the Alive! and PBS performances, as well as documentaries. You can also connect to this by going to the Videos & Film connection described above- or searching the dance databases at Articles, Databases & Indexes on the library's main page.
  • Google dance companies' names to find their web sites, then check to see if they provide videos of their dances online.
    Or check out YouTube to find dances online. (Keep in mind that the quality of many of these are not perfect, which is why they are allowed online to the general public - or an indication that they are bootleg copies, and may disappear before your next viewing!)

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People & Organizations


Along with the dance encyclopedias listed above, see the following resources for biographical information:


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Dance in Oregon


  • See the UO web site Dance in Oregon for companies and schools of dance in the State of Oregon.

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Web Resources

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Created by ashaffer on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Aug 24, 2015
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