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Dancing Through the Centuries: Dawn of a New World (2005)

DVD | Color
60 min | Full Screen.

Directed by Renée Camus
ISBN 978-0-8026-0715-7
Price:  $31.95* Home Video includes Public Library Circulation rights.
ISBN 978-0-8026-0716-4
Price:  $249.95**  Academic and Institutional price including Public Performance rights for non-paying audiences.
Consumers Reviews

Critics Reviews
"In this lively and informative presentation, an eight-member troupe performs social dances spanning from the 1890s to the 1940s. An orchid-colored ballroom boasting large windows overlooking tree foliage is the backdrop for host Renée Camus, who introduces the social, political, and historical scenes of the respective dances and the era. Dressed in historic costumes, the dancers perform the cakewalk, tango, Lindy hop, fox trot, and more. The music is carefully described—composers, song titles, and recordings are cited, while historic posters, sketches, cartoons, and photographs illuminate the narration. The couples make good use of the lovely dance floor, while fine camera work allows viewers to learn the demonstrated steps. A chapter index facilitates each dance. This enthusiastic, enjoyable program is perfect for viewers interested in the history of dance or those who want to perfect the steps."

-Nancy McCray, Booklist

"3 Stars For those who can’t get enough of Dancing with the Stars, this dancu-mentary illustrates how various popular dances arose from a number of influences: a single song that inspired new steps, changes in women’s clothing that allowed flappers to move more freely, and a routine from Argentine bordellos that was transformed into an international rage called the “tango”. Director-host Renee Camus looks at each dance within a larger historical context, starting with John Philip Sousa’s “Washington Post March”, which set off a frenzy of two-stepping among late Victorians, through the Ragtime era’s many “animal trots” (turkey, squirrel, and most enduringly, the fox), up to the dawn of the Lindy Hop in the late 1930s. Although at times over-lighted, this is an interesting look at a specific period of social dance. Recommended."

-R. Reagan, Video Librarian

"Dancing Through the Centuries is an excellent one hour video presenting the social dances of the 1890s through 1940s against the background of their social and historical context. With good visual material integrated into actual performance, we are shown the development of ten dances, from the Two-Step to the Lindy Hop. This video is valuable for courses in either dance or general American history, and would also be good in connecting dance with culture and changes in movement patterns related to changes in society."

-Naima Prevots, Professor Emerita, dance department, American University

"Presented with infectious enthusiasm and sense of humor, Dawn of a New World: Two-Step to Lindy Hop (1890s 1940s) is a delightful DVD. It is both entertaining, with varied and interesting choreography, and enlightening, providing a great amount of information about the dances, music, costume, and social setting through readings and visual images. I recommend this DVD highly to anyone interested in the dances from this period."

-Dr. Dorothy Olsson, Dance Historian, and Director of The New York Historical Dance Company

"Dancing through the Centuries is a wonderfully researched and delightfully presented history of ten social dances that were popular from the 1890s through the 1940s. Each dance is demonstrated in vintage costume to the appropriate vintage music. Narration between the demonstrations, complete with illustrations that include news clippings from the period and original sheet music place the dances in historic perspective. For anyone with even the slightest curiosity about the evolution of today's ballroom and other social dances, this very professionally produced DVD is a must!"

-Niel Shell, co-author w/ 3-time U.S. professional 10-dance champion John Nyemchek of HUSTLE

"As for the DVD, may I say not only what a great job, but also, I really liked the way you incorporated the historical with your troupe's dancing display. The overall presentation was quite original and very entertaining and educational. I am most partial to swing and Lindy Hop, which is probably why I thoroughly enjoyed your excellent display of the Lindy. The choice of music was also nice. I am planning to watch it again this weekend! "

-Ralph G. Giordano, author of /Social Dancing in America: A History and Reference/ Greenwood Press

Summary Have you ever been curious about the development of today’s modern ballroom dances? Ever wonder how, when, and why social dances evolved and became popular? If so, let yourself be transported back in time as professional dancers recreate popular social dances from the 1890s to the 1940s. Dancing Through the Centuries: Dawn of a New World features several dances from bygone eras that are professionally reconstructed, smartly choreographed, and skillfully executed.

Enjoy fun, energetic dances like the Turkey Trot and Charleston, or beautiful, graceful dances like the Fox Trot and Tango. Learn how changes in politics, economics, behavior, and dress molded and shaped the way people moved and expressed themselves. Experience a fuller picture of the early 20th century through period photos, new illustrations, invigorating music, beautiful costumes—and of course, dance.