Digital Humanities: Digital Humanities Advancement Grants

Period of Performance

1/1/2019 - 12/31/2020

Funding Totals

$49,142.00 (approved)
$43,933.00 (awarded)

Creating National Access to Digital Dance Resources

FAIN: HAA-263773-19

University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0001)
Rebecca Salzer (Project Director: June 2018 to present)

A three-day workshop for dance scholars, archivists, librarians, and media specialists on approaches to researching and teaching with digitized collections of dance resources.

Film and video technologies have revolutionized dance education and scholarship by serving as a text for what has historically been an oral tradition; allowing preservation and analysis of dance work. While digital video makes recording dance easier, archives of recorded dance have not been made available online for education and research, and dance scholars face significant geographical and financial barriers to access. Our project brings together dance scholars, archivists, and educators for a three-day symposium during which attendees will explore expansion and aggregation of existing online dance resources along with design of a new pilot resource. The symposium’s results will be disseminated and support for its blueprint actively sought through publication of a white paper, presentations at national conferences, and at open sharing events throughout the United States.

Media Coverage

Professor to Strengthen Digital Dynamics of Dance via NEH Grant (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Adam Jones
Publication: University of Alabama News Center
Date: 12/17/2018

Associated Products

Dancing Digital (Conference/Institute/Seminar)
Title: Dancing Digital
Author: Rebecca Salzer
Abstract: This NEH grant supported a 3-day symposium at the University of Alabama that brought together 19 dance scholars, educators, archivists, curators, and legal and systems design specialists to discuss how to improve and create access to online dance resources for scholars and educators. In short presentations, roundtables, and discussions, participants addressed the project’s guiding questions and created a draft blueprint for a pilot dance resource. Proceedings were recorded and notated by a graduate student scribe.
Date Range: May 13-16, 2019
Location: The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Primary URL: N/A

Dancing Digital Progress Blog (Web Resource)
Title: Dancing Digital Progress Blog
Author: Rebecca Salzer with working group members
Abstract: This is a progress blog to disseminate ideas and information generated at our May 2019 symposium as well as new research and resources as they are gathered.
Year: 2019
Primary URL: http://

Digitorium Conference - Dancing Digital (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Digitorium Conference - Dancing Digital
Abstract: One of the challenges for dance scholarship and education is its intangibility. In addition to dance notation, film and video are widely used as a form of dance “text,” allowing for both preservation and analysis. While recording dance has become easier, significant barriers still prevent access to high-quality online dance resources. In May 2010, a working group led by University of Alabama faculty member, Rebecca Salzer, met to design a pilot online dance resource that fills this gap. This demonstration shares the group’s design, which includes innovative dance scholarship and a pioneering approach to using digital space.
Author: Rebecca Salzer
Date: 10/11/2019
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
Primary URL:

Women in Dance Leadership Conference - Envisioning Digital Dance Spaces for Diversity and Inclusion (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Women in Dance Leadership Conference - Envisioning Digital Dance Spaces for Diversity and Inclusion
Abstract: Improving the quality, discoverability, accessibility, and scope of online dance resources is essential to promoting equity and diversity within dance. This session reports on an NEH-funded Digital Humanities project with these goals. The project is focused on balancing thoughtful curation with inclusivity; broadening available resources beyond Eurocentric dance and imagining expansive future design and curation processes. A national group of women dance professionals are driving leadership of this initiative, spearheaded by Rebecca Salzer with a working group that is 83% female. We propose to share this project with Women in Dance Leadership, sparking interest, gathering feedback, and encouraging participation in shaping this new resource.
Author: Rebecca Salzer
Date: 10/18/2019
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Primary URL:

National Dance Education Organization Conference - Dancing Digital: A Future Online Video Resource (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: National Dance Education Organization Conference - Dancing Digital: A Future Online Video Resource
Abstract: This session reports on the progress of a working group that has drawn both feedback and members from NDEO 2017 and 2018. Previous attendees made it clear that while digital video has made recording dance easier, high-quality, well-curated collections of full-length dance works are not available online and dance scholars and educators face significant geographical and financial barriers to access. In December 2018, the working group was awarded an NEH Digital Humanities Advancement Grant to fund a symposium at the University of Alabama, during which the group will design a pilot resource and draft a whitepaper. With the symposium scheduled for May 2019, we now propose to report to NDEO stakeholders on this new phase of the project and we seek feedback and involvement from NDEO members to help make the resource a reality. Communication is central to our panel topic and to the mission of our project. Vibrant, dynamic, and accessible digital sharing of dance will open the door to an exchange of ideas both within the dance community and with audiences. It will also enrich the creative process, allowing educators to move beyond existing streaming dance video platforms that show only a minute or two of a 20- to 50-minute dance. These excerpts serve as publicity tools, but leave educators from primary grades to universities bereft: limited to teaching the equivalent of half a painting, the first minutes of a piece of music, or truncated sentences from a book. Access to full-length dance works will assist educators in teaching form and will allow dance-makers to convey a complete artistic gesture. Also integral to our project is an examination of how design and curation panels can balance thoughtful curation with inclusivity and open-access, broadening available resources beyond the Eurocentric dance to which existing online resources skew.
Author: Rebecca Salzer
Date: 10/24/2019
Location: Miami, FL
Primary URL:

Joyce/NYU American Dance Platform 2020 - Envisioning Dance in Digital Space (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Joyce/NYU American Dance Platform 2020 - Envisioning Dance in Digital Space
Abstract: This panel brings together Gesel Mason, Norah Zuniga Shaw, and Rebecca Salzer, three innovators exploring the possibilities of dance in digital space, to discuss how we mobilize dance knowledge for the needs of this century. Gesel Mason’s solo performance project, NO BOUNDARIES: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers, highlights the challenges of translating the live body in performance to a digital archive. Ms. Mason will discuss this translation and how it affects our understanding of influential Black choreographers for whom the body and live performance are central. Norah Zuniga Shaw is best known for Synchronous Objects, her award-winning collaboration with Maria Palazzi and William Forsythe acclaimed for shifting the paradigm of dance in digital space from one of preservation to one of expansion, circulation, and dynamic exchange of ideas between dance and other realms of thought and creation. Ms. Shaw will access her decades as creative director for a series of archive, dance data visualization, and choreographic scoring projects to pose the questions “what if?” and “what else?” Rebecca Salzer comes to these questions from twenty years as a screendance-maker. Her work has been featured at national and international film festivals and on public television stations KQED-TV, KPBS-TV, and WTTW-TV. Ms. Salzer also serves as Project Director for the NEH-supported Dancing Digital Project, which works toward creating and facilitating more centralized, accessible, diverse, and forward-thinking dance resources online and will share Dancing Digital’s findings and progress. An open discussion about overarching themes and questions will follow brief presentations by each panelist.
Author: Rebecca Salzer
Date: 01/11/2020
Location: New York, NY
Primary URL:

International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference - Dancing Digital: A Future Online Video Resource (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference - Dancing Digital: A Future Online Video Resource
Abstract: This panel provides a platform for discussion and feedback on the progress of a national project to improve the quality and accessibility of dance resources online. The project seeks to address problems with dance’s current online offerings, including fragmentation, lack of discoverability, financial and geographical barriers to access, lack of diversity and the predominance of excerpts rather than full length works. Over the past two years, Rebecca Salzer and a working group presented this project to Dance/USA and NDEO and gathered feedback from artists, dance scholars, and educators. The group drafted a preliminary blueprint for a pilot resource that combines aggregation of existing online dance resources while providing new functionality for using dance works made available online. The Dancing Digital discussion brings together dance scholars, educators, archivists, curators, and legal and systems design experts to imagine how online dance resources could better serve artistry, scholarship, and education in dance. The panel would like to share it's research findings around dance digital access with IABD participants, invite feedback on the project and connect with attendees interested in contributing to or participating in Dancing Digital’s next steps.
Author: Rebecca Salzer
Date: 01/17/2020
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Primary URL: