New on view



Barbara Morgan. Spring on Madison Square. 1938. Gift of the artist.
  • MoMA, Floor 4, 409 The David Geffen Wing

This gallery borrows its title from that of a journal established in 1942 by Lincoln Kirstein—a cultural polymath who co-founded New York City Ballet and was a key figure in MoMA’s early history. Here, the term “dance index” is repurposed as a metaphor for photography, a means to record dancers’ poses and movement. Through the use of a camera, photographers and artists were uniquely positioned to respond to the rhythm and lines of mid-century dance, and they employed the tool to highlight choreography in the world around them.
These selected works move between the dance studio and the stage of the street, capturing steps and their sequences both in formal performance and in everyday movement. For her film In Paris Parks (1954), Shirley Clarke, who herself had trained with the dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, set the natural rhythms of the city’s parks—the card players and joyful children—to music. “You can make dance films without using dancers,” she later remarked.

Organized by Lucy Gallun, Curator, Department of Photography, with Rachel Rosin, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints & Curatorial Affairs, and Casey Li, 12-Month Intern, Department of Photography.

30 works online


Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].