Skip to Main Content

Dance Research Guide

About Books

The Library holds many different kinds of books pertaining to drama and theatre.  You might find:

  • Biographies of dancers
  • Books on notation
  • Analysis or history
  • Images

Different kinds of books might be relevant to you at different times, so think about what you need. Don't hesitate to ask for help!

Searching for Books

When you are searching for books, you will usually use one of two options:

Subject Headings

Subject headings are words that are used to describe what the books are about.  There are two important things to remember about subject headings:

  • They are consistent throughout the catalog ("Choreography" should bring up all the books on choreography)
  • They are relatively predictable

Finding the right subject heading can make searching much easier.  Here are some headings that are relevant to dance:

  • Ballet
  • Ballet dancing
  • Choreography
  • Dance
  • Dance -- Dictionaries
  • Dance -- History
  • Dance -- Philosophy
  • Dance -- Technique
  • Dance notation
  • Dance therapy
  • Dancers -- Biography
  • Jazz dance
  • Modern dance
  • Modern dance -- History
  • Movement, Aesthetics of.
  • Movement education
  • Tap dancing

Searching in the ways I've recommended above will bring up an alphabetical list of subject headings. As you can see, each heading is broken down into smaller subjects, so the alphabetical list can be quite useful.

More Search Tips

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias are excellent places to begin your research. There are some related to specific dance styles as well as dance in general. 

Example Subject Heading: Ballet -- Dictionaries.

If you are searching for biographies or information about a specific person, try a subject search for that person's last name.

Example Subject Heading: Graham, Martha.

If you are interested in theatre in a specific country or area, ad that country's name to the heading "Theater."

Example Subject Heading: Dance -- India. 

There are also subject headings referring to dancing and specific groups. 

Example Subject Headings: African American Dance -- History

Call Numbers

Books on similar subjects are grouped together in the library. Call numbers are used to locate books on the shelf and identify them by subject.  

Most books on dance can be found at:

  • GV 1580 - 1799.4