Digital Preservation of Dance, Inclusion, and Absence

Authored by: Sarah Whatley

The Routledge Companion to Dance Studies

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138234581
eBook ISBN: 9781315306551
Adobe ISBN:


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Digital technologies have introduced a multitude of opportunities for novel modes of recording, documenting, and preserving dance content. More particularly, digital tools have been developed that have offered dance scholars and artists opportunities to develop new modes of visualizing and transmitting dance, thus creating new ways to access dance content and, in turn, providing new insights to dance, and its compositional and relational properties. Interdisciplinary teams have created many of these tools and resources, thereby stimulating novel partnerships that have generated increased interest in dance—for its access to body knowledge and different kinds of intelligences (Leach 2014)—while also probing the embodied practice/document dichotomy. Consequently, dance is now distributed more widely and what was once an art form that struggled to persist beyond the live event, dance is now available through digital archives, scores, websites, and open data banks, and many of these modes are experimental in nature (Sant 2014). The increased availability of digital technologies also has revealed that the dance-making process is a process of distributed cognition and authorship, thereby unleashing the choreographer from the conventional role of single author, with the potential to make more visible the work of dancers who were hitherto on the margins of the dance community.

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