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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dance Resources: Finding Articles

A guide to aid students in conducting library research on dance-related topics.

Search Tips

Writing can generally be classified into two categories, popular or scholarly. Some indications that something is scholarly: authors are clearly indicated, citations and/or a bibliography are included, is published by academic presses or scholarly/professional organizations, and conclusions are based on the evidence provided.

While you will usually need scholarly materials for most of your research, sometimes popular sources can offer good background information. For certain topics popular sources are more abundant than scholarly ones. For example, while there are peer-reviewed journals about popular music, if you need information about a recent concert or band, a popular source like Billboard or Rolling Stone may be what you need.

Scholarly resources may also be peer-reviewed, meaning other scholars have looked at it and vetted it as good research before it's published. Popular writing may be edited by someone for style and clarity, but is usually not reviewed rigorously for content.

The following guides from the Undergraduate Library can help you learn to determine when something is scholarly or popular.

Each item in the library catalog is assigned one or more subject heading to tell you what it is about. You can search by these terms as a Subject Search and also click on them when you find them to find similar items. Here are some suggestions for headings to try:

  • Choreography
  • Dance accompaniment music [recordings and scores for use in dance classes]
  • Dance: Can be used with other subject terms to specify needed terms. Includes anthropological aspects, biography, social aspects, study and teaching (e.g., Dance--Biography).
  • Types or styles of dance can be found by coupling the dance name with the term "dance" (e.g. Hip-hop danceDance--Ballet, Dance--Aerobic Dancing).
  • Dance types can also be found as singular terms (e.g., Ballroom Dancing, Ballet--History)
  • Dancers: Used to refer to specific traits of dancers (e.g. Dancers--wounds and injuries).
  • For information about dance for aging or handicapped, use "dance for the aged" or "dance for the handicapped."

You can also try headings that are related to particular time period, such as:

  • Baroque Dance
  • Performance practice (Music)--17th century
  • Performance practice (Music)--18th century
  • Dance--17th century
  • Dance--18th century.

You can also include geographic indicators such as:

  • Dance--Africa
  • Dance - United States - History.
  • Dance - Social aspects - United States.

Finding Articles

The best way to find research and other scholarly articles about dance is to search one or more of our journal databases. We've listed a few here that will have a range of date coverage and will include scholarly and non-scholarly materials. Every database is different, but the terms in the "Useful Subject Headings" tab on the left can be used as a starting point for developing your search keywords.


Best Bets


General and Related Databases

For guidance on how find other newspapers and newspaper databases not linked here, try our Find Newspapers Guide.

Quick Links to current newspapers

Trade Publications and other Dance Magazines

Peer Reviewed Scholarly Journals