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Other Blogs: New York Public Library Puts Major Dance Video Archive Online

Posted April 2nd, 2014

Thanks to for posting this article about the online archive of dance videos that the New York Public library has just launched. (And thanks to Annie Wilson for posting it on Facebook and thanks to Facebook . . .)

Allison Meier informs us, “The New York Public Library recently digitized thousands of hours of its videos in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division Moving Image Archive, from grainy historic footage to contemporary productions along with preservations of culture. . . . This is the first time the New York Public Library’s dance archive of 24,000 films and tapes has been available to view online. Before, you had to ask for copies individually at the library. Not all of the thousands of videos are viewable off-site, as much of the archive does still require you to be present in the library. However, in terms of accessibility, it’s miles ahead from before.”

Actually, from a cursory investigation, there is a noticeable preponderance of talking heads talking about dance at symposia-type settings, and nearly all the accessible online videos of actual dance, with a handful of exceptions, are of the Festival at Dzongdrakha Lhakhang, in Bhutan (there are hundreds of these). But what is important about the website is in viewing all the limited access videos of work (which require you to go the library and view it there) it clearly frames the priggishness and stupidity of the dance community not to allow access to their work online. If you want to inspire, disseminate, gain appreciation for your art–let it be seen!

It is not equivalent to allowing free streaming of a film or TV series, which share the same form as the medium of delivery. Dance is a live performance, and we can only hope allowing these videos to be seen online would be as popular as free HBO.

–Leo Krass.