Dance: Collection Strengths

Major Topics


The following are some of the most notable dancers, choreographers, dance companies, composers, designers, and impresarios represented in the collection. Follow the links below to execute subject searches in Library to identify materials about these artists, or conduct author searches to identify their own writings.


  • Balanchine, George
  • De Mille, Agnes
  • Diaghilev, Serge
  • Duncan, Isadora
  • Dunham, Katherine
  • Fokine, Michel
  • Graham, Martha
  • Kreutzberg, Harald
  • Lifar, Serge
  • Loring, Eugene
  • McKayle, Donald
  • Noverre, Jean Georges
  • Shawn, Ted
  • St. Denis, Ruth
  • Wigman, Mary

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Dancers (See also Choreographers)

  • Astaire, Fred
  • Baryshnikov, Mikhail
  • Duncan, Isadora
  • Dunham, Katherine
  • Elssler, Fanny
  • Fonteyn, Margot
  • Graham, Martha
  • Karsavina, Tamara
  • Nijinsky, Waslaw
  • Nureyev, Rudolf
  • Pavlova, Anna
  • Shawn, Ted
  • St. Denis, Ruth
  • Taglioni, Marie
  • Ulanova, Galina Sergeevna
  • Wigman, Mary

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Dance Companies

  • American Ballet Theatre
  • Bolshoi teatr SSSR
  • Kongelige Danske ballet
  • Marie Rambert Ballet
  • New York City Ballet
  • Opera de Paris
  • Royal Ballet
  • Sadler's Wells

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Ballet Composers

  • Stravinsky, Igor
  • Tchaikovsky, Peter

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Costume and Set Designers

  • Bakst, Leon
  • Picasso, Pablo

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  • Kirstein, Lincoln
  • Schlemmer, Oskar

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Dance Genres

  • Ballet
  • Dance
  • Dance notation
  • Jazz dance
  • Modern dance
  • Social dancing
    • Ballroom dancing
    • Country dancing
    • Polka
    • Square dancing
    • Tango
    • Waltz
  • Tap dancing
  • World dance
    • African American dance
    • Chinese drama
    • Flamenco
    • Folk dancing
    • Indians of Mexico -- Dances
    • Japanese drama
    • Kabuki
    • [country name] -- Dance

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Selected Archival and Manuscript Materials

Archival and manuscript collections are described in detail in searchable finding aids in the Online Archive of California. Follow the links below to view the complete finding aids.  Collections for which a link is not given have not yet been organized; contact us for further information.


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Dance Criticism

  • Dougherty (John) papers
    Writings, programs, press releases, photographs, correspondence, and other material documenting the career of the Los Angeles dancer, actor, and writer.
  • Lert (Ruth Clark) dance library and archive
    An extensive collection of photographs, posters, audio and video recordings, and much more documenting historian and critic Lert's interest in dance therapy, movement for the handicapped, dancers Harald Kreutzberg and Mary Wigman, world dance, and dance in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The donation also included her complete dance library.

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Modern Dance

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Many of the collections noted above also include photographs.

  • Dance photograph collection
    Publicity images taken by commercial photographers from 1906 to 1970 that document the repertoire of six major companies, choreographers' original works, and individual dancers in some of their significant roles.

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Many of the collections noted above also include programs. 

  • Dance program and ephemera collection
    Printed materials, primarily dance programs, documenting significant festivals, performances, and events, the bulk of the collection being on 20th century American and European performers and companies.
  • Mason Opera House playbills
    One hundred seventy-five playbills for dramatic and musical performances held at the Mason Opera House in Los Angeles from 1912 through 1918.

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Social Dance

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World Dance

  • Collection on La Argentina
    Forty-five photographs of La Argentina (Antonia Mercé), and several other items documenting her career.
  • Collection on Alberto Salicru
    Photographs, publicity announcements, programs, and other material documenting the career of the Flamenco and regional classical dancer and several of his partners.

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