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Dance 211: Finding Films & Primary Sources

Afro-Modern Dance: Theory & Practice (The Dunham Technique)
Professor: Saroya Corbett
Spring 2022

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are first-hand accounts by participants of a particular event or materials produced at the same historical time period. 

If you were examining racism in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the article in the encyclopedia on the "Negro" would be a primary source. However, an article in the American Historical Review analyzing racism in the Britannica would be a secondary source. (Richard Marius, A Short Guide to Writing About History, pp. 14-15.)

Some examples of primary sources include:

  • Memoirs, speeches, writings, correspondence
  • Papers of a political party, agency, or association
  • Official documents such as congressional hearings and reports
  • Contemporary magazine and newspaper articles
  • Contemporary art, films, literature, and music
  • Contemporary artifacts, such as buildings and monuments

Finding Films in the Library Catalog

  • For films featuring a specific form of dance, do a Browse Search by Subject and then limit to Resource Type: Audiovisual. (Note: this search may also find feature films about the form of dance)

  • To find performances, do a Browse Search by Title for the title of the piece or Browse Search by Subject related to the form and then limit to Resource Type: Audiovisual. (Note: this search may also find feature films about the form of dance. May also need to limit to location Sawyer DVD if the search finds too many CDs)



For additional news sources, see the A-Z database list.

More Primary Sources Databases

We have lots of databases containing primary sources. See the full list.

Online Films


For additional image sources, see our How to Find Images guide.