Academic journal article Notes

Dance in Video: Volume I

Academic journal article Notes

Dance in Video: Volume I

Article excerpt

This quarterly column offers reviews of free and fee-based music resources in a variety of digital media, including online subscription services and databases, World Wide Web sites, mobile applications, CDROM products, and music-related software of any kind. Some reviews may cover a number of related sources together. Excluded from this column are reviews of media in purely digital audio format that would normally be reviewed as sound recordings.

Dance in Video: Volume I. [Alexandria, Virginia]: Alexander Street Press, 2008-. (Accessed 29 May 2013). [Requires a Web browser, Adobe Flash Player, an audio- enabled device, and an Internet connection with a minimum bandwidth of 400kbps. Annual subscription ranges from $1,172 to $2,647; perpetual rights start at $10,000 plus a $125 annual access fee and range up to $25,000 plus a $500 annual access fee; pricing for both subscriptions and perpetual rights is dependent upon library size and budget. Discounts are available for consortial purchases; unlimited simultaneous users.]

Introduction & Content

Dance in Video: Volume I has been pre- sented by Alexander Street Press as con- taining 500 hours of video footage provid- ing an "overview of 20th Century concert dance, including the forerunners and pio- neers of modern dance, covering ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, experimental, and improvisation"1 but the actual content seems to be heavily focused on traditional ballet, while only providing in-depth cover- age of a few particular choreographers in more modern dance form, and only a smat- tering of videos having to do with dance styles of particular regions and cultures. It contains videos dating between 1960 and 2012, with the bulk of the content from 1980-2012. Some of the footage is readily available on DVD, but in comparison to the institutional prices for DVDs, the Dance in Video database is a bargain (for example, the videos from Charles Dennis's Alive and Kicking series alone would cost more than $11,000 if purchased on DVD.)2

Within Dance in Video, there are more than seven hundred individual videos faceted into many categories, the broadest being Performance (443), Choreography and Composition (326), History and Philosophy of Dance (195), Instruction (121), and Dance Theory (88). The collec- tion includes performances by companies such as Merce Cunningham Dance Com- pany, The Royal Ballet, Pilobolus, The American Ballet Company, Doug Varone and Dancers, and Eiko and Komo. One of the more interesting collections of videos included are a series of thirty-six Master- classes provided by the George Balanchine Foundation, in which ballet greats such as Allegra Kent and Maria Tallchief can be ob- served teaching Balanchine's choreography of particular roles to younger dancers.

Interface Design

Alexander Street Press has been in the process of rolling out a new interface for its collections since fall 2013.3 The initial release has both simple and advanced searching capabilities, with robust faceted searching which appears on the left-hand sidebar of search results to further refine results. The ability to create custom video clips and playlists has been retained in the new platform, which allows one to book- mark and share custom playlists of videos, but as of the time of this review, this feature was only working for onsite users. In a per- sonal communication Alexander Street Press let the author know they were looking into this issue, and they suspect it involves a proxy issue for remote users. There is an extensive list of "known issues" with the new Alexander Street Platform posted on their website.4

The video controls provided are intu- itive, including play/pause, fast forward, and rewind buttons, as well as a volume control slider. There is also a button that allows the user to jump back in thirty sec- ond increments. The layout of the screen can toggle between three views: default, thumbnails, and full-screen. …

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