The Collection


DCD is many things but at its heart it’s an archives. Much of what we do, be it mounting an exhibition, publishing a book or magazine, holding a workshop or simply opening our doors to a researcher speaks to the commitment we’ve made to share the Canadian dance story. Our collection includes:

  • 500,000 documents including publicity materials, photographs, personal journals, playbills, correspondence, clippings, scrapbooks and scores
  • 7700 oral history interviews (1100 hours)
  • 2000 moving image recordings
  • 1000 books on dance
  • 1000 costumes, backdrops, props and artefacts
  • 1500 posters, prints, paintings and costume designs

Designed by dance people for dance people, the Canadian Integrated Dance Database (CIDD) helps companies and artists archive their materials.


Many dance organizations and artists are faced with the ongoing problem of organizing their collections of papers, photographs, videotapes and artifacts. The CIDD provides a method of cataloguing the varied items found in a dance collection.

With the ability to upload records to a national database on the DCD web site, a catalogue of dance research materials can be accessed worldwide increasing the global profile of dance in Canada.

  • For Companies and Independent Dance Artists
  • For Mac or Windows operating systems
  • Available in French or English
  • Integration with DCD.CA

Canadian Integrated Dance Database Standards Manual and Collier Descriptor Thesaurus
Authors: Lawrence Adams, Amy Bowring and Clifford Collier
Translator: Marie Claire Forté Dance Collection Danse Press/Presse
102 pages, coil bound $40 plus shipping & GSTISBN: 978-0-929003-65-8
Software: freeSoftware
Developer: Eddie Kastrau


Access to archival materials is free. Please call ahead to arrange a research appointment as some materials are stored off-site. Appointments are held Monday to Friday between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at 2 Carlton St., Suite 1303. Contact Amy Bowring, Director of Collections and Research at, 416-365-3233, or toll free (from within Canada only) 1-800-665-5320.

Research services can be completed by a DCD staff member at a cost of $20.00 per hour plus applicable taxes, duplication and mailing charges. Digital packages can also be prepared.

audio duplication$20 per cassette/disk
video duplication$20 per DVD
photocopies (done by researcher)$0.20 per page
photocopies (done by DCD staff)* $0.30 per page
photograph scans (by email or electronic transfer)$10.00 per scan (up to 11″ x 17″)
oversize photograph scans (over 11″ x 17″)$35.00 per scan
For photographic prints, costs will be determined by request. Photographing documents for research purposes is permitted. Consider making a donation to DCD to help us maintain the care of the collection.
* Certain materials can only be photocopied by staff

Visits to the Research Centre are by appointment only as space is limited and materials may need to be retrieved from off-site storage. Please contact Amy Bowring, Director of Collections and Research, to discuss your research needs or to book an appointment.

Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
DCD is closed on weekends and statutory holidays

Tours and Lectures
Tours are available for DCD Gallery and Research Centre. We can accommodate groups of up to 30 people. Potential examples include: a tour and talk about Dance Collection Danse and its role in preserving Canadian dance history, workshops related to the Grassroots Archiving Strategy, and numerous topics in Canadian dance history. Contact Amy Bowring at or 416-365-3233 to book a customized talk for your group. Group tours cost $100 for up to 90 minutes and an additional $50 for each extra hour or part thereof.

DCD is located in Toronto at 1303 – 2 Carlton Street (at Yonge St.). The closest subway station is College Station (Carlton and Yonge). There is a parking lot for the building accessible via Wood St. (one block N. of Carlton).

A photocopier is available and scanning services can be ordered. Please see our services section (in the left-side menu) for more information about duplication costs. Photographs may not be photocopied but researchers can request digital scans for a fee.

Distance Research
DCD’s research team is available to fulfill research requests for those who cannot visit the archives personally. Please see our services section (in the left-side menu) for more information about services provided and research and duplication fees.

Research Room Rules
Food and drink are not permitted in the Research Centre. Bags and backpacks may be stored on the floor in the Research Centre. Outlets are available for laptop computers. Only pencils are permitted around archival materials.

There are several restaurants in the area; your research materials will be left undisturbed should you need to take a break from your work.


The Dance Collection Danse library consists of more than 800 books donated by many individuals, as well as books purchased by DCD and those published by DCD. Special thanks to Tal Aronson for compiling this list. Books are not loaned, but reference copies are available to researchers by appointment. Contact DCD for more information or to book an appointment.

booklistbuttonDCD’s full library list

DCD staff began doing oral history interviews when research first began on the ENCORE! ENCORE! reconstruction project in 1983. DCD co-founders Lawrence Adams and Miriam Adams, along with others such as Sonja Barton and Lorraine Thompson, conducted hours of interviews with Canada’s early dance artists. Dance historians have also contributed to the collection by donating taped interviews with notable subjects. There are over 1100 hours of oral history interviews in the collection. DCD has begun the time-consuming process of digitizing the oral history collection, some of which can now be heard on DCD’s virtual exhibitions. Oral histories must be digitized before researchers have access to them. Arrangements may be made to digitize an oral history upon request.

Oral history interviews


Dance Collection Danse serves to collect, preserve, research, interpret and exhibit artifacts and archival records that reflect and document the history of dance in Canada and contribute to an understanding of artists, activities, events, institutions, organizations and individuals relevant to the history of dance in Canada.

The decision to accept a collection is made by the DCD Collections Committee and will depend on:

  • its relevance to the history of dance in Canada
  • its relevance to other artifacts and records in the collection
  • its condition
  • its exhibit and research potential and
  • Dance Collection Danse’s ability to maintain the collection in a safe and secure environment.

The collection must be representative of dance in Canada and priority will be given to artifacts and archival records associated with key periods, events, places, organizations, institutions, businesses and individuals.

For donations of artefacts and archival records, please contact Amy Bowring, Director of Collections and Research, at


When co-founder Lawrence Adams sat down to write the book Building Your Legacy his goal was to create a reference that demystified the archiving process and created a foundation of best practices for tomorrow’s dance artists.

The Grassroots Archiving Workshop initiative picks up where Lawrence left off, giving individuals a crash course in archiving fundamentals.

Hosted by DCD’s Director of Collections and Research Amy Bowring, this annual event is held in the DCD Gallery and live streamed across the globe. Grassroots Archiving workshops can also be arranged for groups on request and are included in DCD’s annual national outreach program.

If you would like to be notified when the next workshop is being held, please feel free to join our Friends of DCD email list.


In its beginnings, DCD has had requests for its documentation of choreographies and research materials from artists and others wishing to reconstruct works. Projects include works by Judy Jarvis for Gina Lori Dance Enterprises and Denise Fujiwara, works for Danny Grossman Dance Company’s guest artist program, a Nesta Toumine work for University of Waterloo, and Anna Blewchamp’s reconstruction of Gweneth Lloyd’s 1942 work The Wise Virgins. We can assist groups wanting to reconstruct works by supplying research materials, notation scores and video, and by connecting dance artists to the original choreographers where possible.

DCD also loans copies of the booklet/DVD sets created for Peggy Baker’s The Choreographer’s Trust. If you would like to borrow materials from The Choreographer’s Trust, contact Learn more about The Choreographer’s Trust HERE. Please note that due to copyright, The Choreographer’s Trust sets are not available for sale. The choreographic material presented in the booklets and DVDs is owned by Peggy Baker. It is intended for use in classroom/studio context by dance students and scholars and offered via a non-exclusive, royalty-free license for educational purposes only. Should you wish to perform this work in any context, including performances within educational institutions, you will require a license agreement for Peggy Baker. To enquire about licensing, please contact Meredith Potter.

DCD’s collection includes a growing repository of notation scores. We are also actively notating more contemporary works through the Targeted Preservation Program funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which will result in the deposit of Benesh notation scores for works by Gadfly, Little Pear Garden Collective and Kaha:wi Dance Theatre. If you would like to know more about having your work notated or accessing notation scores at DCD, contact