Your Stories: What You Want from a Digital Archive …

We asked you to share your thoughts in answer to the question:

Q. If you could have anything from a digital archive what would it be? 

We were very pleased that so many of you responded and sent us your answers.

Danse Cité Electronic Archives-Terminus 1 ©

I would love:

  • 360-degree videos of performances
  •  Incorporation of reverse image search and facial recognition software
  • Supplementary content of choreography walkthroughs
  • The ability to see different incarnations of a performance / character all in one place (to compare costumes, set design, etc. more easily)

To want to:

access information and contributions of dance professional, teaching artists and educators about the role of dance in their own lives as well as how they work with others to define what dance can mean to them. Examples of projects, residencies, performances that are aimed to introduce and establish dance within school, higher education and community. How do these projects, residencies, performance address diversity and respond to the needs of the participants and the community?

To have a:

DCD site which is more than just a catalogue of what is available.

The possibility of:

an imagined space for a ‘curated’ archive or even an ‘accidental archive’ keeps popping into my mind. For example the dance world is made up of folks who wear many hats. They might be a dancer-choreographer-teacher-academic-foodie-archive volunteer-mother-small business owner-aging in dance-person. All of which contribute to their lives as artists and to disentangle them or not, seems an interesting point of view to start with. A possible entry point for a curated archive as an event. 

And finally:

There appears to be an abundance of materials with a Western and Eurocentric dance history. Given the current covid context including the work of Black Lives Matter, and the ask for organizations to acknowledge systemic racism and plan for its dismantling, what oversights are in place to locate this systemic issue in light of the capacity to reproduce these same errors of the ‘real’ world in the ‘virtual’?  Can we propose better routes of access that will enable and facilitate a more equitable route into the archives. One that extends a hand back towards communities left behind, instead of expecting that ‘they will find us.’

COBA Electronic Archives-Company in Saraca. Photo by David Hou ©

Have these thoughts and comments sparked an idea in you?  What do YOU want from a digital archive. There are no limits. Think big, think differently, think digital first.

Please send your ideas to

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