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The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

Folk Dance Research
By Ron Houston

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Ron Houston

FIRST (in order of accessibility)

Folk Dance Catalogue. Austin, Tex.: Houston, Ron, 1976. It shows countries and regions of origin and possible other names for virtually all the dances documented between 1900-1976.


2022 Problem Solver Alphabetical Index . Houston, Ron. Austin, Texas: Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH), Annual, 1987 to 2022. They each presented detailed background information and instructions for about 40 folk dances.


An Index to Folk Dances and Singing Games. Minneapolis Public Library. Chicago: American Library Association, 1936. And [Supplement], 1949. These books list the folk dances and singing games in most of the books then in print. The supplement caught some of the post-war surge in Kolos.


Now it gets really academic. You may want to run this list by a reference librarian:

Consult The Humanities: a selective guide to Information sources, 4th ed. by Ron Blazek and Elizabeth Aversa. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 1994. It will lead you to several dictionaries and encyclopedias of dance. Most such dictionaries and encyclopedias are in most libraries' reference rooms, so you can do them quickly.

Better than Blazek is: Research in Dance: a guide to resources by Mary S. Bopp. New York: G.K. Hall, 1994.

For really deep but dated research: Dance research and theses by American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, National Section on Dance. Greensboro, N.C.: Woman's College, University of North Carolina, 1955.

Even more dated: Paul David Magriel's various dance bibliographies, circa 1936-7.

Also dated is Guide to dance periodicals by S. Yancey Belknap. Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida, to 1959, then New York: Scarecrow Press, 1960–.

More current is Academic Index from Information Access Co., 1991, available on-line in most academic libraries.

For broad but shallow: Dance on Disc: the complete catalog of the dance collection of the NYPL by the New York Public Library. New York: G.K. Hall, 1993–.

For a bibliography of dance bibliographies: Margo L. Smith, Anthropological bibliographies: a selected guide South Salem, N.Y.: Redgrave, 1981.

Try these first; then we can get into song indexes, specialized ethnic encyclopedias, and other peripheral works.


Robert Wenke, Patterns in Prehistory: social use, function, and the status of music in the local setting, used for signaling, ritual, leisure, status, modes of professional instruction, model-setting, and socially-acceptable tonal properties.


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