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Exploring Dance Collections at the Schomburg Center: Other NYPL Resources

This research guide aims to give researchers an introduction to some of the dance collections that are housed across multiple departments within the Schomburg Center for Research in Black culture

The New York Public Library

The New York Pubic Library is an internationally renowned institution holding hundred of thousands of items that cover a wide range of topics. Throughout all 90+ branch locations, circulating and non-circulating, you can find different media/items that have to do with Dance or Dance culture. Most notably is the Library of the Performing Arts, which collects and preserve materials related to and about all aspects of the Arts, which include dance. 

Take a look below to learn more about New York Public Library's Library for the Performing Arts and other resources offered by the New York Public Library 



The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, one of the Library’s renowned research libraries, houses one of the world's most extensive research collections in the fields of theatre, film, dance, music, and recorded sound, as well as a wide array of circulating and reference materials.

The Library for the Performing Arts is open for walk-in access to the Circulating and Research Collections. 

Accessing archival materials in the Special Collections Reading Room currently requires an appointment and Special Collections Account. Visit the Division pages below to arrange an appointment. 

Create a Special Collections Account

Read the general regulations for research centers

Not sure which division is right for your research? Contact: Ask NYPL

5 Divisions of the Library for the Performing Arts 

  1. Billy Rose Theatre Division: this division is one of the largest and most comprehensive archives devoted to the theatrical arts. Encompassing dramatic performance in all its diversity, the division is an indispensable resource for artists, writers, researchers, scholars, students, and the general public

  2. The Jerome Robbins Dance Division: This division is the world’s largest dance archive and library with an international and extensive collection that spans seven centuries

  3. The Music Division: one of the world's preeminent music collections—documenting the art of music in all its diversity—classical and opera as well as the whole spectrum of popular music including spirituals, ragtime, jazz, musical theater, film, rock and world music. While the division contains many scores and manuscripts from centuries past, its curatorial mandate is an activist one, placing major emphasis on capturing the creative output of contemporary composers

  4. The Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound: The Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound of The New York Public Library is one of the richest resources of recorded sound in the world. The Archives' extraordinary holdings cover virtually every aspect of recorded sound—from Mozart to Maria Callas to Motown, from symphonic works to presidential speeches, from radio dramas to television specials

  5. Theatre on Film and Tape Archive: Since 1970, the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT) has preserved live theatrical productions and documented the creative contributions of distinguished artists and legendary figures of the theatre. With the consent and cooperation of the theatrical unions and each production's artistic collaborators, TOFT produces video recordings of Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theatre productions, as well as dialogues between notable theatre personalities

Books on Dance