Local Dance History Project

Our mission is to affirm the presence of dance artists in the rich cultural history of Philadelphia’s recent past, present and future.

Through the Local Dance History Project, PDP has created an opportunity to share and preserve a history largely undocumented at present. This unique project seeks to create a digital collection, informed through a contextual narrative and presented in a format that is easily accessible to everyone. The Local Dance History Project is designed to be a resource of a cultural/dance history stemming from the work of independent dancers in Philadelphia beginning circa 1975-85, but with the potential to move forward and backward in time adding the many artists who have contributed to the transformations in Philadelphia dance in recent history.

In 2010 PDP presented a revival of dance works originally performed in 1980 by composer Dan Martin and dancers/choreographers Michael Biello, Jano Cohen, Terry Fox, Wendy Hammarstrom and Ishmael Houston-Jones. See Calendar archive…. This reconstruction/re-imagining of work initiated a new endeavor called the LOCAL DANCE HISTORY PROJECT (LDHP) to launch a website that shares Philadelphia’s dance history through images, videos, artist narratives, historical notes, and an interactive timeline that allows other local dance artists to join in on the discussion and share their work. In 2012 the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries became a partner with PDP to provide these dance artists’ collections an additional, and possibly more permanent, home for research and public accessibility.

Materials on this site and the Local Dance History Project Timeline are made accessible to the general public under the fair use doctrine of Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976. PDP makes no claim to own any rights associated with this material content and provides the Local Dance History Project website for educational use. Anyone who accesses the site is subject to the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 (including section 107 which defines “fair uses” of copyrighted materials) and any additional copyright laws as enacted since then.


We welcome everyone’s COMMENTS and RECOLLECTIONS.

Please email us at info@philadanceprojects.org or visit the LDHP on FACEBOOK.

Thank you!

We gratefully acknowledge support from the William Penn Foundation, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the Dolfinger McMahon Foundation, and the PA Humanities Council, with input and assistance from Margery Sly, Director of the SCRC, Temple University Libraries, Libby Smigel, Executive Director National Dance Heritage Coalition, Brittany Austin and Nicole Topich, DHC Fellows, and Barbara Tait, Emma MacDonald and Julee Mahon as Archive Associates, Jeff Cain as Project Consultant, LDHP web concept development was assisted by Night Kitchen Interactive with special thanks to Stacey Mann. Special thanks to Zornitsa Stoyanova.

Indegogo supporters:

  • Jacelyn Biondo
  • Linnda Blackaby 
  • Joan Meyers Brown
  • Jeff Cain
  • Mandy Cantor
  • Jac Carely
  • Melissa Chisena
  • Jano Cohen
  • Penny Contractor
  • Christian Gesauldi
  • Gerry Givnish
  • Susan Gogan
  • Robert Goldman
  • Linda Caruso Havilland
  • Myron Hankin
  • Curt Haworth
  • Carmella Vassor-Johnson
  • Ishmael Houston-Jones
  • Nanette Jones
  • Germaine Ingram
  • Debby Kajiyama
  • Lisa Kraus
  • Majorie Levitt
  • Michael Biello & Dan Martin
  • Candace Mate
  • Suzy & Larry Merighi
  • Thomas Moore
  • Anne-Marie Mulgrew
  • Ameline Pappas
  • Alexis Pappas
  • Helen Pettengill
  • Carolyn & John Phillips
  • PhiladelphiaDannce.org
  • Alana Phinney
  • Jumatatu Poe
  • Keith Ragone
  • Sophie Ragone
  • John Scott
  • Miriam Seidel
  • James
  • Amy Smith
  • Merian Soto
  • Jonathan Stien
  • Leah Stein
  • Jene Stojak
  • Michele Tantoco
  • Kathryn TeBordo
  • Elizabeth Templeton
  • Alie Vidich
  • Karol Wasylyshyn
  • Theresa Westwood
  • Judy Williams
  • Karen Mauch
  • Diane Zilka
  • and 10 anonymous…