The 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 Perfomance 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 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.