The Pioneers of Chinese Dance Unique Digital Archive is a digital photograph and oral history collection designed to make the history of twentieth-century Chinese dance accessible to international researchers. The project was started in 2014 with support from the University of Michigan Asia Library, 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 University of Michigan faculty member Emily Wilcox and is being 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.
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