British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Spirit Moves, The: A History of Black Social Dance on Film, 1900-1986

Synopsis
This 3-part documentary traces the evolution of African American dance in urban America. It was recorded and created over a period of thirty years by Mura Dehn, a European filmmaker. Shown with their original editing, the films on this DVD are a rare and vital social document providing a living record of the men and women who forged American social dance styles into an improvisational art form. Previously, the footage was only available for viewing at the Dance Collection of the New York Public Library, or on VHS to a select group of swing dance aficionados. The following three DVDs are also available individually.

Disc 1: JAZZ DANCE FROM THE TURN OF THE CENTURY TO 1950
Filmed in a studio setting, Part 1 contains demonstrations of ragtime and jazz dances by artists at the Savoy including James Berry, Pepsi Bethel, Teddy Brown, Sandra Gibson, Leon James, Al Minns and Frankie Manning. Dances include the Cakewalk and Charleston Black Bottom, Susie Q, Shake Blues, Gutbucket Blues, Trunky Doo, Big Apple and some aerial Lindy Hop. Narrator: Mura Dehn. 45 minutes.

Disc 2: SAVOY BALLROOM OF HARLEM, 1950s
Filmed at the Savoy Ballroom in the 1950’s, Part 2 features footage of dancing by the general public. This is important because the ‘public’ includes Al Minns and Leon James. Part 2 includes Bebop, Lindy, Shim Sham, Charleston, and an aerial Lindy contest for the Harvest Moon Ball Championships.. 30 minutes.

Part 3: POSTWAR ERA, 1950s-1980s
A Survey of 100 Years of Social Dance Created by Black Americans. Filmed at P.S. 28 (Brooklyn) and at the Palladium (New York), Part 3 features dances from the ‘Bebop Era’ the Flying Home Harlem Style, Bebop improvisations, the Mambo and an Applejack Challenge, danced by Teddy Brown, Sugar Sullivan, Jack Asquiew, Leroy Appens, Tandaleo and Jackie, plus others. 40 minutes.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Year of release
2010
Year of production
USA
Availability
OUT OF Distribution
Subjects
Dance
Keywords
modern dance; social history; black Americans; jazz dance

Credits

Director
Mura Dehn

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD
Format
Region 0 NTSC
Price
$165.00
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
120 minutes
Year
2010

Production Company

Name

Dancetime Publications

Email
http://www.dancetimepublications.com/contactus.html
Web
http://www.dancetimepublications.com/ External site opens in new window
Phone
+1 972 247 9955
Fax
+1 972 247 9959
Address
c/o Oz Fulfillment
11212 Indian Trail
Dallas
TX 75229
USA
Notes
Dancetime Publications is a US publishing house creating DVDs that capture the research, preservation, and performance of historical dance, making the evolution of Western dance more accessible than ever before. Dancetime videos seek to fill gaps in the study of social dance and provide instruction, historical context and entertainment for all dance lovers. Sale on NTSC video and DVD.

Record Stats

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