Our History

Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC) was founded in 1992 to address problems in documenting and preserving the records of dance, 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.

DHC's programs and projects fell into four main categories:

1) Preserving and processing archives, including both collections held by archival institutions and collections still held by choreographers and dance companies, and making finding aids for dance research collections available online.

2) Digital initiatives, including preservation-level digitization of endangered videorecordings of dance and developing a Secure Media Network to provide scholarly access to these materials. 

3) Fellowships for library science students providing mentorship and hands-on experience working with dance collections.

4) Educational resources, including America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100 (website and travelling exhibition); the copyright project to develop a Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use; and the Artist's Legacy Toolkit.

In 2017, DHC began the process of integrating its archiving, preservation, and education programs into Dance/USA.