The Spirit moves : a history of Black social dance on film, 1900-1986

Spirit moves. Selections.

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  • Jazz dance from the turn of the century to 1950: "Filmed at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem in the 1950s, Part 1 features demonstrations of ragtime and jazz dances by well-known artists at the Savoy, including James Berry, Pepsi Bethel, Teddy Brown, Sandra Gibson, Leon James, Al Minns and Frankie Manning. Dances in Part 1 include the Cakewalk, Charleston, Black Bottom, Suzie Q, Shake Blues, Gutbucket Blues, Trunky Doo, Big Apple, and some aerial Lindy Hop" -- Container.
  • Savoy Ballroom of Harlem, 1950s: "Part 2 features footage of dancing by the general public... [including] Al Minns and Leon James. Dances in Part 2 include Bebop, Lindy, Shim Sham, Charleston, and an aerial Lindy contest for the Harvest Moon Ball Championships" -- Container.
  • Postwar era: "Filmed at P.S. 28 (Brooklyn) and at the Palladium (New York), Part 3 features dances from the 'Bebop Era'. Dances in Part 3 include the Flying Harlem Home Style, Bebop improvisations, the Mambo and an Applejack Challenge. Prominent dancers in Part 3 include Teddy Brown, Sugar Sullivan, Jack Asquiew, Leroy Appens, Tandaleo and Jackie" -- Container.


  • Collective title from disc menu.
  • Episode title on pt. 1 label: Jazz dance from the turn of the century to 1950
  • Disc 3 is numbered pt. 3; has pt. 2 on title screen.
  • Subtitle on pt. 2 (disc 3): "a survey of 100 years of social dance created by Black Americans."
  • Originally produced in 1987 as a 5-hour documentary.
  • DVD, NTSC.
  • In English.


  • Pt. 1, Jazz dance from the turn of the century to 1950. Chapter one: Ragtime (Strut; Cakewalk; Breaks) ; Jazztime (Charleston 1920's) ; Jazztime (Jazz steps 1930's) ; Chapter two: Blues. ; Chapter three: Savoy routines (Trunky Doo, Aerial Lindy, California Lindy, Big Apple) ; Postwar trends (Calypso, Apple Jack). -- Pt. 2, Savoy Ballroom of Harlem - 1950's. Chapter one: Ladies Free Night (Mambo, Harlem style, Ladies Free Lindy Hop, Bop Lindy, Postwar mood, Bebop Applejack) ; Savoy champions (The Routine, Charleston solo, Lindy Hop Challenge, Ballroom to Blues, Contest of Aerial Lindy) ; Bebop Time: Solo Concert Dance Improvisations. P.S. 28: Mambo Applejack Challenge -- Pt. 3, The postwar era. Chateau Gardens Grand Ball: Bebop Avant-Garde ; Mambo
  • Disc 1. Jazz dance from turn of the century 'til 1950 (44 min.) -- disc 2. Savoy Ballroom of Harlem, 1950's (34 min.) -- Disc 3. Pt. 2: Postwar era, 1950-1975 (40 min.)
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