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Special Features: Supporting the Vitality of Dance

The Dance Division has developed a series of projects to address both the specialized needs of the professional dance community and the needs of the general public. These projects include:

Documenting and Preserving Live Performance

Since 1965, the division has selected, produced, and recorded more than 1,000 dance works on film and videotape and taped hundreds of hours of oral history interviews. These recording projects ensure that today's masterworks will be tomorrow's legacy, available to future generations for study and restaging.

Responding to a critical need in the field, The Collaborative Editing Project to Document Dance, funded by a grant from the National Initiative to Preserve America’s Dance (NIPAD), explores how collaborations between choreographers and editors can extend the dance community’s ability to produce high-quality records of dance (see attached report).

Oral History Archive and Project

The Dance Division's Oral History Archive is comprised of more than 4,000 collected audio recordings. These recordings document the voices and ideas of more than half a century of dancers, choreographers, scholars, and producers working in all areas of popular and theatrical dance.

Oral History Project

Within the archive, the Dance Division’s own Oral History Project numbers over 400 interviews. The Project is a distinct, searchable collection of interviews that have been initiated and recorded by the Library in an effort to add to the existing primary source material available to researchers in dance.


The division regularly selects from its diverse holdings to mount thematic, biographical, or historical exhibitions. Past exhibitions have explored such subjects as "Music, Dance and the French Revolution" and "Four Decades of the New York City Ballet." Selected exhibitions may travel to other venues; the Curator of Exhibitions (212.870.1830) can provide information about this service.

Screenings and Lectures

To augment its exhibitions, the division sponsors film screenings, lectures, demonstrations, and performances. For information on events, visit the Performing Arts Library's Locations and Hours Page.


The division periodically publishes books and pamphlets on dance. Representative titles include Images of the Dance by Lillian Moore (New York: The New York Public Library, 1965), Dancing in Prints (New York: The New York Public Library, 1964), Stravinsky and the Dance (New York: The New York Public Library, 1962), "Your Isadora" (New York: Random House & The New York Public Library, 1974), and Alexander Pushkin (New York: The New York Public Library, 2001).

Consulting Services

Recognized as a leader in film, videotape, and manuscript preservation, the division offers consulting services to dance companies and choreographers, helping insure that recorded and still images of their work survive into the future.