Pioneers of Chinese Dance

Collection Information

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 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 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.

For more in-depth background, see the article: Creating a World-Class Chinese Dance Collection, or watch professor Emily Wilcox and librarian Liangyu Fu discuss their 2013 collaboration that resulted in the Chinese Dance digital collection:

These digitized materials are made available for education and research purposes. Where possible, we indicate what we know about copyright and rights of privacy, publicity, or trademark in the record for each item. This digital-only collection is comprised of digital copies of analog photographs and documentation collected by Professor Emily Wilcox from 2008-2015 in the course of her research and scholarship.

Due to the nature of library and archival collections, we do not always know if there is a copyright holder or how to find them in any given case. We are eager to hear from any rights owners to learn more about our collections and obtain accurate information. In the case of the Pioneers of Chinese Dance materials, many items are made available in this collection with permission from interviewees and others. Please note the information provided at the item level in the sidebar regarding “Rights/Permissions” where applicable.

For more information, please see Rights/Permissions.