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Chinese Dance

Resources for studying Chinese dance, especially those included in the Chinese Dance Collection at the University of Michigan.

Overview: U-M Chinese Dance Collection

Whether you are already an expert in Chinese dance history or just a beginner, the University of Michigan has resources to satisfy your research needs.  Our Chinese Dance Collection is the largest of its kind in North America.  Currently it includes the following components:

  • Rare materials
  • "Pioneers of Chinese Dance" digital archive
  • Audrey Moo Hing Jung collection
  • Secondary source materials
  • Recently acquired: archival materials on Chinese Dance and Chinese performing arts program collection

This link contains the main holdings of the Chinese Dance Collection.  Backlogs and new acquisitions are being processed everyday, so the list is updated frequently.

The U-M Library also provides the largest set of circulating materials on Chinese dance anywhere in North America, including dancer biographies, memoirs, dance technique books, dance videos, dance encyclopedias, and scholarly books on ancient and contemporary Chinese dance history.

Image credit: Eric Bronson (Michigan Photography)

Rare Materials

The rare materials in the Chinese Dance Collection provide invaluable primary resources for studying over 100 years history of Chinese dance.  The oldest item 舞蹈遊戲 was dated 1910.  There are many distinct formats featured in the collection, including programs, posters, collectible cards, early dance serials, and mimeographs

Recently the U-M Asia Library acquired a collection of archival materials from the 1950s and a collection of approximately 2,000 performing arts programs.  They are currently being processed, and more information will be available in this research guide soon.

"Pioneers of Chinese Dance" Digital Archive

The Pioneers of Chinese Dance Digital Archive is a digital photograph collection designed to make the history of twentieth-century Chinese dance accessible to international researchers. The project was started at the University of Michigan Asia Library in 2014, with support from the Center for World Performance Studies, the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, and the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies. It is part of a larger initiative to make the University of Michigan the premier institution for research on Chinese dance in North America.

The project builds on the research of former University of Michigan faculty member Emily Wilcox and was created in collaboration with UM Chinese Studies Librarian Liangyu Fu, with the assistance of Center for Chinese Studies graduate student Ting Su. The collection is focused on private donations from individual dancers who started their careers in the 1940s and 1950s and had a major impact on the history of Chinese dance. In most cases, the photographs were scanned directly from dancers’ personal photo albums in their homes in China. The original hard-copy photos remain with their owners. This is an original collection that includes many photographs never before published or made publicly available. English-language metadata, which include biographical narratives and information gathered from historical sources and oral history interviews, have been created for each item in the archive, and photos will be available for reproduction in academic publications to encourage future scholarship.

Currently this digital archive contains approximately 1,500 historical photographs. More materials will be added this year.

Audrey Moo Hing Jung Collection

In 2016 the U-M Library acquired a trove of materials belonging to the late Chinese-American dancer, choreographer, and professor Audrey Moo Hing Jung (1945-2006).  This multimedia collection includes 24 boxes of color slides, 97 Super 8 mm film reels, and manuscripts from her visit to China in 1975.  They offer a rare view into professional and street dance as well as the surrounding culture and society of that moment.  The U-M Library plans to digitize this collection and make it available for research and teaching uses.

Secondary Source Materials

Besides a large number of scholarly publications on Chinese dance, the Library also has a collection of dance textbooks donated by Beijing Dance Academy.

Other U-M Library Resources for Studying Chinese Dance

Besides the Chinese Dance Collection, the U-M Library also holds a large number of printed and electronic resources where you can find Chinese dance related materials.  Please check the Chinese Studies Research Guide and Dance Research Guide for detailed information.  Below are just a few examples of e-resources: