At the close of Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial year, this edition of the Journal takes a different look at America’s 16th president—through the eyes of critically acclaimed dance artist Bill T. Jones. In a groundbreaking work of choreography called Fondly Do We Hope...Fervently Do We Pray, Jones reimagines the iconic Lincoln. Bill Moyers speaks with Jones about his creative process, his insights into Lincoln, and how dance can offer a fresh perspective on the man who is arguably the most-studied president in U.S. history. Broadcast date: Broadcast dates: December 25, 2009, and February 12, 2010. (57 minutes)
In the 1930s, Blacks began to carry the verbal traditions of the South into the cities of the North in music, song, and dance. The host discusses George Gershwin and jive talk. Archival film footage shows a Harlem nightclub in the 1920s. (6 minutes)
Black minstrel shows were the springboard for dance performers such as Carmen de Lavallade and Judith Jamison, who went on to become a choreographer. Dancer and choreographer, Debbie Allen plays a key role as an instructor on "Fame."(4 minutes)
Stepping dates back to the early 20th century, when black veterans enrolled in colleges and, inspired by their military training, created a dance form based on precisely regimented movements. This program explores the origin and evolution of African-American step-dancing, weaving scholarly commentary about its cultural context with lively and exciting performance footage. (28 minutes)
This program presents a collection of rarely seen original film footage from Soundies and short films of the 1930s and 1940s. The films come from the private collection of Mark Cantor’s Celluloid Improvisations Music Film Archive, a collection of 4000 preserved jazz-musicals , and from the Ernie Smith Jazz Film Collection, of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Every selection has been carefully researched by Andrew J. Nemr of the The Tap Legacy™ Foundation and was selected to educate and enlighten dance professionals and aficionados. The narration adds background information on the legendary performers in this program, such as Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Bill Mahoney, the Berry Brothers, Slick and Slack, Juanita Pitts, and Stump and Stumpy.
This documentary explores African contemporary dance through eight modern dance companies from Africa, Europe and Canada that participated in the Festival International de Nouvelle Danse in Montreal, Canada in 1999. Interviews, including those with dance historians Yacouba Konate and Alponse Tierou, add insight to beautifully-photographed performances. What emerges is a fascinating diversity of contemporary African dance themes and styles. Exploring the interactions between tradition and modernism, the consequences of colonization and urbanization, the self-expression of women through dance, and the roles of masculinity and family relationships, the film is a unique source of information and inspiration for dancers, dance historians, choreographers, critics, as well as those interested in African culture, past and present.
A haunting, poetic quality pervades this vast panorama of African art, which took two years of preparation and then nine months of filming by two camera teams to draw together. Region by region, the development of civilization and art is explored through art objects used in the daily life of the people. Masks and ceremonial objects were filmed in remote parts of Africa where the authentic dances still take place. African dance under European influence is rapidly losing its true form and meaning, so this film is a rare and notable record. Sections concentrate on the Nok culture of Northern Nigeria, the Sao people of the Chad, Ife and Benin, the Island of Goree, the Bawongo tribe, the Ivory Coast, the Abomey in Dahomey, the Senufo tribe, the Bamileke tribe (with dancers belonging to the Kanze Secret Society), the Dogon of Sudan, Batouffan Camaroons and Senegal.
"I'm going to dance, dance, dance til I can't dance no more!" - Bertye Lou Wood (age 96)
Meet the Silver Belles, five tap dancers who performed in 1930’s Harlem at the famed Apollo and Cotton Club, with legendary band leaders like Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington. They have rich stories to tell about the history they made during the Harlem Renaissance, illuminated by a treasure trove of archival film and photos. Together again, after a few decades hiatus, they're dancing to standing ovations - as sassy as they ever were!