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A Guide to Openly Accessible Media and Streaming Video Content (January 2021): Performance Arts

by Susan Ariew, LeEtta Schmidt, and Matt Torrence

Performance Arts

Many performance venues and organizations have responded to physical distancing orders and the closure of public venues during COVID-19 by putting recordings of past performances online. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater provides not only weekly broadcasts of dance performances but also free online dance classes for use by the community. Lincoln Center AT HOME has populated its online presence with on-demand videos that include daily pop-up classrooms, archival performances, performances at home, and previously broadcast materials. Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive offers free access to videos of dance performances (from the 1930s onward) at Jacob’s Pillow, the US’s longest running dance festival.

Popular film material can be found at Moving Image Archive. Viewers of the film archive can turn on closed captioning for the videos. Movies are classified in categories such as sci-fi, comedy, silent films, and film noir. Video Cellar Collection has a variety of media, including television shows, documentaries, advertising, government films, and international films. This is a rich and varied collection. Both sites are subsets of Internet Archive. 

When it comes to music one can find just about any song/composer or set of lyrics on YouTube.  There are YouTube channels for specific musicians and genres and there is YouTube Music, a general channel that provides comprehensive coverage of music and artists. There are several resources for K-12 teachers under “Music education” but very few academic sources for upper-level students. PBS LearningMedia (YouTube) is all about music appreciation, with resource videos that allow users to explore music from various time periods and cultures. Categories include appreciation and analysis of musical works, musical creation, musical forms, music theory and history, music in world cultures, and much more. Users can filter by grade level of student and type of music. Along with videos the site offers audio files, images, and lesson plans. Audio files of musicians, interviews with composers, and music genres abound in Library of Congress’s Digital Collections.