Our Mission

DHC is the sole national non-profit alliance of institutions holding significant collections of materials documenting the history of dance. Its mission is to preserve, make accessible, enhance and augment the materials that document the artistic accomplishments in dance of the past, present, and future.

DHC pursues its mission by encouraging, initiating, and developing collaborative projects among the dance communities, library and archival fields, scholarly institutions, and individuals in four essential areas: access to materials, the continuing documentation of dance employing both traditional methods and developing technologies, preservation of existing documentation, and education within and beyond the field of dance. The DHC also serves as a think tank and a convener for the dance heritage field.

Our History

DHC was founded in 1992 to address problems in documenting dance and preserving the record, problems which were identified in a study commissioned by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. This study, titled Images of American Dance, recommended the formation of an alliance of the nation's major dance collections to facilitate communication; develop national standards, policies and priorities; and implement collaborative activities and projects in the fields of dance preservation, documentation, and access. In 1996, the DHC was incorporated as a nonprofit organization.

Some of the recent projects and programs of the Dance Heritage Coalition include: (1) America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100 (website and travelling exhibition); (2) work to create a Secure Media Network of significant moving images and ancillary materials; (3) fellowships for study of archival practices at DHC member institutions; (4) the copyright project, to develop a Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use; (5) archival consulting for dance companies that have in-house archives; (6) online finding aids for dance materials in special collections at DHC members institutions and other libraries and archives; and (7) a registry of analog videotapes and digitization initiatives.

For information on becoming a member of the Dance Heritage Coalition, visit our membership page.