Dance Films Builds an Archive!

An archive that will change the history of dance on film, making nearly 60 years of ground breaking footage accessible.

What We Have!

Currently, our archive is accessible by visiting our office in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, plugging in a VHS player, and rewinding once you’ve finished watching. Here is what we have-
  • Over 1,000 VHS tapes
  • Over 500 DVDs
  • Over 60 years of archived history of global dance film
  • Films around the world from USA, Brazil, Cuba, France, Russia, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Norway, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Denmark, India, Republic of Guinea, Japan, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Venezuela, Australia, Tunisia, Poland, South Korea, Mexico.
  • Films from internationally recognized directors like Shirley Clarke, Thierry deMey, Lloyd Newson, Francisco Rovira Beleta, Pascal Magnin, Richard Move, Wim Vandekeybus, Richard Blanshard, Douglas Wright, Paul Cox.
  • Films featuring the choreography of dance history greats including and not limited to Martha Graham, Pina Bausch, Mary Wigman, Merce Cunningham, Vaslav Nijinsky, Charles Honi Coles, Leon Collins,Ted Shawn, Alvin Ailey, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker.
  • And lastly, there are 651 moving image items at the New York Public Library of Performing Arts gifted from DFA dating back to 2002.

What We Envision!

In the spirit of two steps forward, we envision a definition of preservation that aligns with current, innovative industry methods to create an accessible archive that empowers you to customize your discovery of dance film. Step two encourages the use of our archive not only as a library, but as a collaborative, open-ended vault that serves a range of needs from inspiration to entertainment, and that merges exhibition and experience. Given this range, we want to make our archive navigable and searchable, so that you may customize your experience.

Who We Need!

Rather than stand by antiquated assumptions, it’s important to us to further examine what IS an archive in today’s media climate. In order to achieve this, we need to solicit help from various professionals including but not limited to; lawyers to guide us through rights acquisition; an archivist to organize, tag, and label material; a digitizing specialist to convert footage; a designer to work on website interface; a curator to sift through the footage; and a programmer to build a digital viewing platform.

Why It’s Essential!

You are witness to the beginning of a project that will change the history of dance on film. If visiting our office in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, you’ll notice one whole wall is occupied by 36 banker boxes containing archival material ranging from VHS tapes to handwritten Dance on Camera entry forms to birthday cards addressed to DFA founder Susan Braun. Before we completely unpack these boxes and find ourselves overwhelmed in a heap of dance film history, this project requires copious amounts of research, from learning about licensing arrangements to determining the best methods for digital conversion to designing the overall look and navigation of the archive. We recognize this is a massive undertaking. With only two dedicated staff at DFA, we are faithfully moving forward to secure specialists that will act as long term consultants for the duration of the project. But as this archive is meant for you, it won’t mean much if it only stays in our hands. We need your help to get this project on its feet. Join our team as a stakeholder, and even for some lucky backers as a project collaborator. Back this project to ensure that our dance film archive comes to life so we can all dance for joy.

Why We Need You!

As an enthusiast, dance filmmaker, film goer, and art lover… YOU are our core audience. We need you to express your support of this project by backing this campaign. We have already received support for the project from the Media Arts Assistance Fund, a regrant program of the New York State Council of the Arts, Electronic Media and Film, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature administered by Wave Farm. At this early stage, we’ve already seen interest from the dance, film, and media community at large. Now all we need is your help. Be a backer so we can embark on this journey together and make dance film accessible to all!
Video Made Possible By: Director and Editor- Mary John Frank Animator- Terry Liu Music- Scott Matthew Written by- Dance Films Association, Christy Park and Brighid Greene Produced by- Paul Galando and Dance Films Association And Special Thanks To: Norton Owen- Director of Preservation at Jacob’s Pillow Tanisha Jones- Director Moving Image Archive, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, New York Public Library of Performing Arts Greg Vander Veer- Filmmaker, Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter; DFA Board President David Hinton- Filmmaker, Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men Alan Brown- Filmmaker, Five Dances Glenn Raucher- Director of Theater Operations, Film Society of Lincoln Center  
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