America Dances! 1897-1948

A Collector’s Edition of Social Dance in Film

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Price: $49.95

The America Dances! DVD presents original film clips of Americans dancing iconic, vintage dances. Dancetime Publications has culled fascinating, incredible footage from multiple archives and libraries to create this astounding collection. A collectible treasure, America Dances! is a fascinating, original-source record of pivotal dance moments reflecting changing dance trends, expertise, and taste. A dance chronicle of our culture, this retrospective spans the panorama from average Americans dancing in newsreels to top quality performers who left a legacy of their moves across the ballroom floor. These film archives show rare footage of the African American and Latin dance heritage. More than 60 film clips from silent films, newsreels, instructional films, and feature films comprise this 75 minute video.

DVD run-time: 75 minutes

America Dances belongs in a category of its own: archival footage showing the evolution of dance within popular culture. LA Times
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This DVD represents an incredible opportunity to access historical dance clips in a well-composed collection. Until now, many of the clips were lost to the public. Highlights include elegant performances from the silent film era by Irene and Vernon Castle (the role models of modern ballroom dance), Black Bottom clips demonstrating colloquial roots, newsreels of Charleston contests, and grueling couple dancing in almost unending dance marathons. The video also includes a variety of the finest clips available of the show-stopping Lindy Hop, as celebrated by the renowned Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers.

The video is divided into DVD chapters for easy navigation to specific dances. Free of commentary, it is accompanied by a piano track.

Program: America Dances! 1897 – 1948

1897-1919 |
From the Cakewalk to the Castle Walk

Charity Ball
Foxy Grandpa & Polly in A Little Hilarity
Comedy Cakewalk
Comedy Cakewalk on Beach
One Step: Everybody’s Doin’ It Now
Comic Fox Trot with Mr. & Mrs. Sydney Drew
Airplane Waltz
Two Step
Irene and Vernon Castle :The Whirl of Life

1920-1929 |
From the Blackbottom to the Lindy Hop

Let’s Do The Blackbottom
Charleston Basics
Charleston and Blackbottom
Charleston in Newsreels
Charleston Dance Contests
Charleston Contests
Ballroom Acrobats
Raggedy Ann, Tangolio
Kinkerjeu, Lindy Whirl, Yankee Prance
Old Fashioned Waltz
Lindy Hop Introduction
Lindy Hop

1930-1939+ |
From Dance Marathons to Lindy Hop / Jitterbug Contests

Dance Marathon Newsreels
8 Couples Remain in Grueling 3 Month Dancing Marathon
Exhausted Couples Drag Fatigued Feet in Endurance Walk
Tired Couples Totter On Feet Over 2,500 Hours
Endurance Dancers Still Seek Record After 5 Months
Lambeth Walk
Waltz: New York City
Waltz, Rumba, Mambo: Harvest Moon Ball
New Style Rhumba Makes a Hit with Winter Tourists
Susie Q Basics
Big Apple Basics
Big Apple Dance: A Tarheel Stomp Agitates Country
From the Minuet to the Big Apple
Big Apple: Keep Punching
Collegiate Shag
200,000 Jitterbugs go Slap Happy at Swing Jamboree
Beach Resort has New Slant on Jitterbug
A Dizzy Round of Jitterbug and Jive Hits the Big Town
Lindy Hop: Harvest Moon Ball
Lindy Hop/Jitterbug Jive: New York City
Lindy Hop: Harvest Moon Ball
Lindy Hop: Harvest Time in Rhythm
Lindy Hop: Newsreel

1939-1948 |
From Romantic Dance to Acrobatic Classics

Waltz: Irene Castle at the World’s Fair
Adagio: May I Have The Next Trance With You?
Adagio: Dreamland of Mine
Cuban Pete
A Rumba Story
Rumba with Spice
Mexican Jumping Bean
Conga Loca
Rhumba Serenade: Mi Rumba
Lindy Hop: Keep Punching
Lindy Hop: Cottontail (Hot Chocolates)
Lindy Hop: Boy! What a Girl!
Lindy Hop: Killer Diller

Pianist: David Shepard


2 DVD Set – 20TH CENTURY AMERICAN DANCE: Dancetime DVD! Vol. II, America Dances! 1897-1948


America Dances! belongs in a category of its own: archival footage showing the evolution of dance within popular culture… the footloose performances of the Charleston and other antique-fad dances gathered here are invariably more exciting than the watered down versions devised by contemporary choreographers for Broadway, TV or the movies. LA Times

These are actual films shot in the era presented, and the people and clothing were as much fun to watch as the dancing… I recommend this video for anyone interested in dancing, or history in general. Dove Worldview

With more than sixty historic clips, this collection proceeds blessedly free of commentary… The film, the result of 20 years of research by Carol Téten, is a gold mine for anyone interested in vernacular dance – or just dance. Dance Magazine

Such resources … may hasten the incorporation of movement into the study of music, making a substantive contribution to musicology… Dance merely described is only a skeleton. It requires kinesthetic transmission and the dancer to put flesh on. Marta Robertson, American Music: Multimedia Review Gettysburg College

Dancetime Publications, the company responsible for the unique instruction series on the history of American social dance, How To Dance Through Time has pulled together an equally unique collector’s edition of primary source film clips—mainly newsreels and television footage—of American dance. Culled from the National Archives and other news sources, these 60 clips, ranging from just a few seconds to several minutes in length, provide a rare glimpse into American trends and tastes through over a little more than half a century. Highlights include seconds drawn from an 1897 Thomas Edison film Charity Ball, early 1900s newsreels of young men and women doing a spontaneous cakewalk at a beach resort, film clips of legendary dance duo Irene and Vernon Castle, demonstrations of the Charleston from a 1960 episode of The American Musical Theatre, as well as scenes of dance marathons, contests, and the wild jitterbugging of the renowned late Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers. Granted the film stock is rough in spots (frequently, and understandably, dark, and grainy), but Dancetime has supplied an appropriate piano accompaniment for consistency throughout. Fun for both dance fans and scholars, this program is recommended for all dance collections. Library Journal

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