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Fiddler's Green, Victoria Hutson Huntley, 1938, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist

Dance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Smithsonian Institution. But the Smithsonian's wealth of programming, vast collections, and free educational materials offer a wide variety of resources and opportunities for learning about and participating in the relationship between dance and music. This spotlight highlights some of those resources and provides pathways for visitors and researchers to continue exploring.

Short Essays About Music and Dance

Many units offer programs that feature dance performers, from traditional cultural displays to commissioned contemporary works. These events are frequently documented by the sponsoring museum, and can be experienced online. Below is a selection of short blog posts, exhibition essays, podcasts, and other resources that can be found across the Smithsonian's online resources on the topic of music and dance. 

Be sure to check out the Smithsonian Music calendar to look for upcoming dance events that you can experience in person!

Smithsonian Collections Showcasing Music and Dance

View a sample of the variety of Smithsonian collections that feature music and dance, and get some ideas about how to explore the collections on your own.


Many Smithsonian performances are recorded and made available on the sponsoring museum or center's website.  Most Smithsonian museums and centers also have their own YouTube channels, where the performances can be viewed and shared. The National Museum of the American Indian in particular hosts frequent performances and festivals featuring Native American performers, and the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival typically includes a large number of dance-inclusive performances related to the festival's chosen theme.