Dance Heritage Video Archive Debuts Footage From Landmark Folklorico Festival

Dance & Theater

Last year, the Dance Heritage Video Archive—an ongoing partnership between the USC Libraries and the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance—debuted on the USC Digital Library with hundreds of recordings of culturally importance dance performances. The collection continues to grow under the stewardship of librarian Javier Garibay. 

Recently, the archive added nearly two hours of video footage from the first-ever Danzantes Unidos Festival, held in 1979 on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. That event has since grown into a major annual showcase of Mexican folkloric dance groups from across California. 

In June of this year, festival founder John Estrada contributed the film and audio reels for digitization. From there, the USC Libraries' video archivist and post-production specialist, Nicholas Camardo, converted the analog video and audio tracks into digital files. Garibay, the libraries' dance preservation and digital projects librarian, then painstakingly synchronized the video and audio to create a seamless viewing experience. When the process was complete, Estrada (shown above pointing to a video image of himself) had a chance to watch the digitized videos on the USC Digital Library, where they are now publicly accessible to scholars of Latinx culture, dance practitioners, and anyone interested in the history of folkloric dance in California. 

The Dance Heritage Video Archive was made possible by a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Photos courtesy of Javier Garibay.