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Dance Collection Danse (DCD)
Society for Canadian Dance Studies/Société des études en danse canadiennes (SCDS/SECD)
 

GALogoThe Grassroots Archiving Strategy has created a network of trained Dance Collections Coordinators in cities across Canada to help dance artists and companies preserve their legacies.

 

These freelance Dance Collections Coordinators are able to address two needs within the dance community: (1) to perform archival duties for artists and companies who do not have the time to preserve their materials, and (2) to provide artists and companies with training and consultation that enables them to attend to their own preservation needs.

 

The last Grassroots Archiving workshop, “Everyday Archiving for Small and Mid-sized Companies”, was held March 5-7, 2008 in Toronto. This collaborative workshop brought in expertise from Dance Collection Danse, The National Ballet of Canada, Danny Grossman Dance Company and the Winnipeg Dance Preservation Initiative. Targeting arts managers, creators and interpreters, the workshop helped companies and artists incorporate archiving into their daily operations. Participants learned how to manage an archiving project, how to create a budget and how to perform various techniques to preserve documents, three-dimensional objects and choreography.

 

The course included instructions on how to use the Canadian Integrated Dance Database (CIDD). The CIDD is a shareware program and online database for cataloguing dance archives. The CIDD provides an environment for creating a catalogue of the numerous items that Collections Coordinators will encounter. By cataloguing documents and artifacts on a national scale and by posting this catalogue on the Internet, the CIDD will contribute to heightening the profile and unveiling the depths of the dance arts in Canada. It is a complementary component to the Grassroots Archiving Strategy.

The next phase of the Grassroots Archiving Strategy will identify existing dance organizations, universities, libraries and archives that are willing to become repositories for individual or company archives. Several such organizations are already listed on the Directory of Dance Collections on the SCDS/SECD web site and more will be added as they are identified. Currently, Dance Collection Danse is the country's largest archives for housing Canadian theatrical dance collections. Some municipal and university libraries house performing arts collections. There are a limited number of dance materials at various provincial archives at the Library and Archives of Canada. A few other dance organizations in Canada also house collections.

The web sites of DCD and SCDS/SECD will maintain a directory of freelance Dance Collections Coordinators as a resource for dance artists and companies. DCD will continue to act as a resource for the Dance Collections Coordinators when questions or problems arise. DCD will also attempt to hold annual training seminars for new Dance Collections Coordinators.

It is hoped that in the future, dance service organizations will be able to organize workshops so that the Dance Collections Coordinators can pass on their knowledge to interested individuals within dance communities across Canada. We would like to see coordinated efforts between the service organizations, DCD and SCDS/SECD to inform dance artists and companies of the Grassroots Archiving Strategy and that funds from such programs as the Flying Squad, or parallel funding programs in each province, are available for preservation projects and education.

This Strategy would also like to see a coordinated playbill, poster and flyer preservation plan created with the aid of the CanDance Network whereby CanDance members collect the above artifacts from each production and deposit them regularly with Dance Collection Danse and a regional collecting organization.

In order for this strategy to work, funding bodies need to be a part of the discussion. The support of the funders is not only needed at a financial level but at a policy level whereby artists are strongly encouraged to include a preservation strategy as part of their productions or company operations.

If you wish to receive occasional e-mail updates regarding the Grassroots Archiving Strategy or are interested in becoming a Dance Collections Coordinator, contact Amy Bowring, Director of Research, at .

Internet resources: http://people.uleth.ca/~scds.secd

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