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22/02-10   -   Press releases

Pioneering project to help teach dance

Researchers at the Universities of Surrey and Coventry have won funding for a pioneering internet project to help students and the public to search for dance images and resources.

The Digital Dance Archives scheme will deliver a free website unifying several existing dance information sources.

It will include videos of performances, photographs of costumes, programmes and memorabilia.

The project will create a unique profile for dance in the UK that will benefit artists, researchers and members of the general public curious about dance past and present.

The innovative feature of this online interface will be that searchers can look for dance images based on visual similarity rather than just text instructions.

The £323,262 scheme is in collaboration between the Department of Dance, Film and Theatre at the University of Surrey, the Centre for Vision Speech and Signal Processing also at the university, and in partnership with the National Resource Centre for Dance at Surrey and the School for Art and Design at Coventry University.

Professor Rachel Fensham, of the University of Surrey, said: “The rich visual resources of Surrey’s dance archives will be made accessible in an interactive format for wide public use."

The funding was secured from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for the Digital Equipment and Database Enhancement Funding for Impact scheme for a project to create a web based Digital Platform for dance resources in the UK.

“It is exciting for the field of dance to have such strong support from the AHRC at this time", says Professor Sarah Whatley, of the University of Coventry.

As a web platform that will make dance resources available internationally, connecting multiple archives and making user interaction possible, it will provide a model for other performance archives.

The DDA will be of interest to arts and scientific journals, and the media, for its application of innovative web technologies in the arts.

Work on the project begins next month with a site launch scheduled for early 2011.

Notes to Editors

There are two images available to illustrate this story. They can be sent upon request from the University of Surrey press office and are as follows:
1) Rudolf Laban in an icosahedron, undated © NRCD, University of Surrey
2) Drawing by Rudolf Laban of a figure tracing a continuous path around some edges of a dodecahedron, c.1938 © NRCD, University of Surrey

Media enquiries: Howard Wheeler, Press Officer at the University of Surrey, Tel: 01483 686141 or E-mail:

Notes to Editors:
The University of Surrey is one of the UK’s leading professional, scientific and technological universities with a world class research profile and a reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Ground-breaking research at the University is bringing direct benefit to all spheres of life – helping industry to maintain its competitive edge and creating improvements in the areas of health, medicine, space science, the environment, communications, defence and social policy. Programmes in science and technology have gained widespread recognition and it also boasts flourishing programmes in dance and music, social sciences, management and languages and law. In addition to the campus on 150 hectares just outside Guildford, Surrey, the University also owns and runs the Surrey Research Park, which provides facilities for 140 companies employing 2,700 staff.
The Sunday Times names Surrey as ‘The University for Jobs´ which underlines the university’s growing reputation for providing high quality, relevant degrees.
Media Enquiries

Howard Wheeler, Press Office at the University of Surrey, Tel: +44 (0)1483 686141, or Email

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The University of Surrey
Surrey, GU2 7XH, England

  +44 (0)1483 686141

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