Dance Videos

Historical Dances

Historical Dances on Video, DVDs and Books

Learn the dances from the Italian renaissance, Baroque, Victorian Era and 19th and 20th century dances. Learn to dance the Waltz, Gallop, Polka, Schottische, Polka Mazurka, Fox Trot, Horse Trot, Kangaroo Hop, Duck Waddle, Squirrel, Chicken Scratch, Turkey Trot, Grizzly Bear, Castle Walk, Tango, Maxixe, Hesitation Waltz, Minuet, Allemande, and Contredance.

The Spirit Moves 3-Vol. DVD Set

The Spirit Moves 3-Vol. DVD Set

This rare cultural treasure, The Spirit Moves (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) is now available on DVD. This 2-hour film documentary is the most extensive video encyclopedia from 1900 to the 1980s.

The Spirit Moves 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 who recognized and recorded the vital contribution of African American dance to the Jazz scene and thus, to our cultural heritage.

The chronicle of these 20th century dance fads is essential for dance and music research, as well as for the exploration of our social and cultural history.

Shown with its original editing, this DVD contains the only footage of this kind still in existence.

The Spirit Moves is 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, it 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 Spirit Moves is such an important archive that Dancetime Publications is now making it available to libraries, schools, dance aficionados, and scholars throughout the United States and across the globe.

Part 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 (45 mins).

Part 2: Savoy Ballroom of Harlem, 1950's - 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 mins).

Part 3: Postwar Era, 1950s-1980s - 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 mins).

The Art of Baroque Dance: Folies d'Espagne from Page to Stage DVD

The Art of Baroque Dance Folies d'Espagne from Page to StageIn this important DVD, one famous dance, “Folies d’Espagne", is beautifully explored.

This popular dance, with its music, has been selected because it features short highly expressive pieces. Each variation has its own temperament, which is inspiration for that choreography.

By viewing the re-creation of this one Baroque dance, "Folies d’Espagne", the viewer can trace five important characteristics portrayed in this dance performance: Dance notation; treatment of space; arm embellishments; relation to music; and interpretation of the dancer. Thus, this video explores the creative process of researching, reconstructing, re-creating, and performing a Baroque dance.

This DVD will explore the elements that enable us to better understand the historical preservation of dance, from the academic page to its transformation into a vibrant performance. This fascinating video produced in France, reveals the 17th century Baroque dance of the sophisticated era of King Louis XIV. The King, himself an excellent dancer, ordered the invention of a notation system for dance to teach, codify, and spread this art. The French still continue to celebrate 17th century dance today. It is considered to be the most perfect form of art, uniting all of the qualities needed to educate one’s body and soul.

Created by dancers in Paris, this video is generously layered with a wealth of historic architectural and artistic images. The video’s director/choreographer, Natalie Van Parys, has an outstanding French Baroque heritage. Through this video, her lifetime of knowledge and experience enable the next generation to appreciate a venerable art from the past. The public will be able to uncover the secrets of the interpretation of a dance, discover its beauty, better understand the elegance and virtuosity of the French Baroque style, and enter into the world of the very close relationship that existed between dance and music in the 17th century.

America Dances! 1897 - 1948 DVD

America Dances 1897 - 1948America Dances! 1897-1948: A Collector's Edition of Social Dance in Film includes 60 historical dance film clips from the first part of the 20th century in the United States.

It provides a nostalgic history lesson that features a fascinating record of our changing dance trends, expertise, and taste, and reflects our culture through the years. This dance retrospective spans the panorama from average Americans dancing in newsreels to top quality performers who have left a legacy of graceful dance moves across the ballroom floor. Featured in the program are the elegant Irene and Vernon Castle in their famed 1915 film and the renowned Whiteys' Lindy Hoppers from their 1940s "Soundies".

America Dances! records some of the pivotal dance moments of our history. The 20th century opened with wild cakewalk / animal dance fads; moved through the effervescent Blackbottom and Charleston of the 1920s; diminished to the Dance Marathons of the 1930s; and exploded into the vibrant Lindy Hop/Jitterbug of the 1940s. This is a collectible treasure, to be preserved for future generations, and ideal for viewing again and again.

More than 60 Original Film Clips From:

  • Silent Films
  • Newsreels
  • Instructional Films
  • Feature Films

Featuring Dance Legends Irene & Vernon Castle, Leon James, Al Minns, Whitey's Lindy Hoppers.

America Dances! offers the original movements and images of the people who actually created them. This is an original resource offered for both aficionados and scholars! This DVD represents 20 years of film collectables by Dance Historian, Carol Teten, Artistic Director of the internationally known dance company, DANCE THROUGH TIME.

DVD technology allows the new HOW TO DANCE THROUGH TIME series to include enough material to please the most demanding historian as well as the casual dance enthusiast. The DVD includes the original written sources, which are the historic foundation for the dance steps.

20th Century American Dance 2-DVD Set

20th Century American Dance 2 Video SetThis two DVD value set includes America Dances! 1897-1948 DVD and Dancetime! Vol. 2 - The 20th Century DVD.

How to Dance Through Time Vol. 1:
The Romance of Mid-19th Century Couple Dances DVD

Mid 19th Century Couples DancesLearn to dance the Waltz, Gallop, Polka, Schottische, and Polka Mazurka. This Volume gives clear "how-to" instructions to help viewers learn these five mid-19th Century ballroom couple dances.

Beginners are introduced to the basic steps in careful detail which accompany the romantic dance music of the past. Each dance is introduced by a brief presentation of historical information illustrated with original lithographs. In the final section, the dancers perform these much loved dances, dressed in the appropriate fashions.

How to Dance Through Time Vol. II:
Dances of the Ragtime Era: 1910 - 1920 DVD

Ragtime DancesLearn to dance the Animal Dances (Fox Trot, Horse Trot, Kangaroo Hop, Duck Waddle, Squirrel, Chicken Scratch, Turkey Trot, Grizzly Bear), Castle Walk, Tango, Maxixe, and Hesitation Waltz.

This Volume provides 44 step combinations and how-to instructions offering enough variation to improvise your own vintage dances. Each dance is introduced with an entertaining, historical overview illustrated with authentic photographs and drawings. Following each instruction, dancers perform the spirited dances with the appropriate fashions and music.

How to Dance Through Time Vol. III:
The Majesty of Renaissance Dance  DVD

Renaissance DancesLearn to dance an Italian Renaissance dance suite: Nido d'Amore (The Nest of Love).

This Volume exposes the social and technical intricacy of Renaissance dance. The refined introduction (The Opening) explodes into male virtuoso display (The Galliard), builds to mutual ecstasy (The Saltarello), and culminates in a statement of strong individualism (The Canary). This suite mirrors the episodic changes of courtship. Professional dancers demonstrate detailed step precision and perform the entire suite, with the authentic music and fashions of the era. Historical Renaissance dance information is accompanied with original illustrations.

How to Dance Through Time Vol. IV:
The Elegance of Baroque Social Dance DVD

Baroque Social DancesLearn to dance the Minuet, Allemande, and Contre-dance.

This Volume shows the most influential social dances of the French Baroque Court. The ceremonious Minuet, the most famous 18th century dance invention,  is demonstrated with step and floor pattern detail. The complicated handholds of the Allemande are carefully delineated. The intricate patterns of the popular Contra dance are brought to life by eight dancers. The professional dancers demonstrate the dances with detailed step analysis and perform with the appropriate music and fashions of the era. To provide an authentic historical backdrop, each dance is introduced with historical information, accompanied by original illustrations.

How to Dance Through Time Vol. V:
Victorian Era Couple Dances DVD

Victorian Era DancesLearn to dance the Victorian Era Couple Dances, which continues the tradition of The Romance of Mid-19th Century Couple Dances (Vol. 1). Professional dancers demonstrate each step in slow motion and close up camera views.

The viewer re-visits the classic 19th century couple dances in order to explore 32 innovative step variations, which were added in the last part of the century. The Waltz flourished with turning embellishments; the Polka developed whimsical variations; the Gallop rose to a new level of expertise; and the Mazurka blossomed into virtuosic displays. Historical information, with original illustrations, illuminate the evolutionary role of each dance. The authentic music and fashions of the Victorian era enhance this video.

How to Dance Through Time Vol. VI:
A 19th Century Ball: The Charm of Group Dances DVD

A 19th Century BallLearn to dance A 19th Century Ball: The Charm of Group Dances, which reveals the interplay of the flirtatious group dances in the ballroom.

The Grand March is the elegant ceremonial opening to the Ball, where all the participants view their perspective dance partners for the evening. The popular Lancers Quadrille is one of the most popular Square dance formations of the 19th century. Its five sections display a mini-encyclopedia of fluid geometric patterns. The famous Cotillion figures enable dancers to flirt and "mix n' match", as well as to feature their dancing expertise through improvisational dancing games. Professional dancers demonstrate all of the patterns with both aerial and close-up camera views. Each dance is introduced with historical information, which illuminates the social context of the dances. Original illustrations accompany the descriptions. These dances are performed, in parts and as a whole, with the appropriate 19th century music and fashions.


How to Dance Through Time 6-DVD Set

How to Dance Through Time Video 6 Volume SetThis six volume value set includes the entire How to Dance Through Time series (Volumes I - VI) directly above.

Dancetime! Vol. 1:
The 15th to 19th Centuries DVD

500 Years Social DancesDANCETIME! takes you back through history from the 1400's through the 1990's. The popular social dances of each era evoke the thrill of Renaissance revelry, Baroque beauty, 19th Century romance and non-stop 20th century energy. The two videos combine an educational journey, high artistic standards and fun loving entertainment.

This Volume I covers the 15th through 19th Centuries. A world of beauty and grandeur! From the courts of Italy, France and England -- to the refined ballrooms of America. Dances demonstrated are the the 15th Century Balli; the 16th Century So Ben Mi Chi Ha Bon Tempo, La Volta and Galliard; the 18th Century Contra-dances and Follies d’Espagne; the Early 19th Century Country Dances; the Mid 19th Century Quadrilles and Durang’s Hornpipe; and the Late 19th Century Polka, Mazurka, Gallop and Cotillion.

Dancetime! Vol. 2:
The 20th Century DVD

100 Years Social Dances

DANCETIME! takes you back through history from the 1400's through the 1990's. The popular social dances of each era evoke the thrill of Renaissance revelry, Baroque beauty, 19th Century romance and non-stop 20th century energy. The two videos combine an educational journey, high artistic standards and fun loving entertainment.

This Volume II covers the 20th Century ... a nonstop explosion of American social dance! The innovative fads reveal the diversity of our culture from ragtime to rock, memory lane to MTV; from yesterday to today! Dances demonstrated are the 1910’s Animal Dances, Castle Walk, Apache, and Tango; the 1920’s Tango, Black Bottom, and Charleston; the 1930’s Marathon, Movie Musical, Big Apple, and Jitterbug; the 1940’s Rhumba, and Swing; the 1950’s Rock n’ Roll and Mambo; the 1960’s Twist, Mod and Hippies; the 1970’s Disco; the 1980’s Break Dancing, Punk and Moonwalk; the 1990’s Vogue, Hip Hop, Country Western, and Finali.

Dance History 2-DVD Set

Dance History 2 Video SetThis two DVD value set includes Dancetime! Vol. 1 - The 15th to 19th Centuries DVD and Dancetime! Vol. 2 - The 20th Century DVD. See descriptions directly above.


See Also

Ballroom Dance
Swing Dance
Country Dance Videos
Dance DVDs.