Preserving video dance heritage: EVDH project

European Video Dance Heritage was a cooperation project that took place between May 2013 and April 2015. Lead by Maison de la Danse in Lyon, it has the support of the Culture Programme of the EU. After the end of the project, we offer you a summary of this initiative to preserve video dance heritage.


The overall goal of the European Video Dance Heritage project was to structure a European memory of dance through video and to transmit this heritage to younger generations, taking into account its political, economic, technical, legal and educational dimensions. All this through three more specific objectives:

To begin with, the EVDH project aims to raise awareness among professionals, rights holders and policy makers of the need to preserve and transmit video dance. The first step in order to achieve this was to set up a European seminar on preservation and dissemination of video dance at the Tanzhaus nrw in Düsseldorf, Germany. With this major activity, the EVDH project wishes to respond -or at least to reflect together- to the main issues that each video dance professional can face day after day. To that end, 35 professionals of any kind were invited to discuss the following questions:

  • How to raise awareness for dance as a cultural heritage and contemporary art form?
  • How should rights issues be managed in order to provide access to these archives?
  • How to set up an audio-visual dance memory taking into account the evolution of digital technologies as well as the different forms of access to resources? And so on.

Following this, four National workshops on preservation and dissemination of video dance were organised in Warsaw, Porto, Lisbon and Madrid, in order to keep raising awareness, but locally this time, while spreading state of the art knowledge. This leads to the following purpose of the EVDH project.

Indeed, the second objective was to share and transfer knowledge and best practises related to the preservation and dissemination of video dance. Alongside the National workshops, we created an online toolbox on the EVDH project website with this goal in mind. It contains reports and videos of the European seminar, as well as the educational kits created in the framework of the project.

On the other hand, the EVDH project also wanted to consider what comes from upstream preservation of video dance: that is filming dance. By setting up a European workshop on video dance creation, in Fuenlabrada -Madrid, Spain, the project positioned itself in favour of developing video skills, as prerequisites to any work related to archiving dance. The workshop offered the opportunity to 24 young video dance professionals to improve their techniques -and creativivy as well- by realising video dances or recording dance performances.

In a completely different kind of action, the EVDH project also included a Workshop for trainers, in Lyon, France. This activity aimed at learning to the co-organisers’ employees or collaborators (public relations for instance) educational techniques based on the tools offered by website to adopt for a local usage regarding the EVDH project. After that, the attendees were supposed to be able to train in turn other persons in their respective countries.

Last but not least, the project also had as an objective to share the memory of European dance. We have opened a European online collection of video dance on It includes video selections reflecting of each co-organiser’s collection, the result of the different workshops, and some video excerpts of the European seminar.

Furthermore, we have created 5 new online educational kits, also called “Themas”, on “Dance & (Dis)Ability”, “The Dance of Berlin contemporaries”, “The Polish Folkdances”, “Dance & Animality”, and “Contemporary Italian dance:the 2000’s”. Each of these Themas, as well as the 12 pre-existing ones have been translated in English, French, Deutsch, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish. The 12 pre-existing Themas have also been recorded with a voice over. Finally, we organised Screenings of the results of the workshop and/or EVDH tools on in European dance (or video dance) festival in Lisbon, Lublin, Lyon, Berlin and Madrid.

Through these implemented activities, the co-organisers of the EVDH project really wanted to start a European thought about dance heritage. For us this first European project was just the starting point of a huge work on reflection and harmonization of our practices but a really important step. It was the first time in the world of dance that organization from different country and different areas (festival, institutiion, theatre, producer) decided to work together for the dance heritage and more specifically for its dissemination.

So our goal was also to get to know each other and to integrate our respective partners in this adventure in order to imagine future collaborations.


The most significant results of the project are certainly:

  • The collective awareness of the need to preserve our heritage but also to share it. To share it intelligently by accompanying the discovered of this part of our culture.
  • The exchange of contacts, of methodology and way to proceed between all the participant of the project, whether co-organisers or partners, or subcontractor.
  • The creation of European tools on website. 17 educational tools accessible unlimited and for free in 6 European languages (Polish, German, Portugese, Spanish, English, French).
  • The connexion between the dance department of the French Ministry and the Ministry of Culture of North-Rhine Westphalia of Germany. Thanks to the European seminar they had the opportunity to meet each other and to listen the other on the digitalization and dissemination of archives’ questions.
  • The training of 24 young European professionals who had the opportunity to create video dance during one week and to present their work at the museum Reina Sofía and all around European festivals.
  • 3 days during which professionals throughout Europe were able to discuss their practice and to learn from the other.
  • The creation of an online tool box accessible for free with all the resumes of the seminar of Düsseldorf.
  • The creation of a European collection which give an overview of archives from each of co-organisers’ country.
  • The opportunity to share our reflections during national workshop organized in co-organisers’ country.

More information here.