The Beginnings of Ciné-Dance

Dance and film have shared the aspiration to creatively sculpt motion and time. Some of the first films ever made featured Annabelle's skirt dance, hand-painted in glowing colors. Isadora Duncan and Ruth St. Denis' innovations found their way into Diana the Huntress (1916) and The Soul of the Cypress (1920). Highly cinematic renditions of dance evolved in Stella Simon's Hände (1928), Hector Hoppin's Joie de vivre (1934), and Busby Berkeley's "Don't Say Goodnight" from Wonder Bar (1934). In counterpoint, ciné-dances by Mary Ellen Bute, Douglass Crockwell, Oskar Fischinger, Norman McLaren, Ralph Steiner, and Slavko Vorkapich dispensed with actual dancers in favor of color, shape, line, and form choreographed into abstract light-play.

7 Annabelle Dances and Dances (1894-1897)—W.K.L. Dickson, William Heise & James White
Davy Jones' Locker (1900)—Frederick Armitage
Neptune’s Daughters (1900)—Frederick Armitage
A Nymph of the Waves (1900)—Frederick Armitage
Diana the Huntress (1916)—Charles Allen & Francis Trevelyan Miller (excerpt)
The Soul of the Cypress (1920)—Dudley Murphy
Looney Lens: Pas de deux (1924)—Al Brick
Hände: Das Leben und die Liebe eines Zärtlichen Geschlechts (Hands: The Life and Loves of the Gentler Sex) (1928)—Stella Simon & Miklos Bandy
Mechanical Principles (1930)—Ralph Steiner
Tilly Losch in Her Dance of the Hands (c. 1930-33)—Norman Bel Geddes
2 Eisenstein’s Mexican Footage (1931)—Sergei Eisenstein (excerpts)
Oramunde (1933)—Emlen Etting
Hands (1934)—Ralph Steiner & Willard Van Dyke
Joie de vivre (1934)—Anthony Gross & Hector Hoppin
Wonder Bar: "Don’t Say Goodnight" (1934)—Busby Berkeley (excerpt)
Dada (1936)—Mary Ellen Bute & Ted Nemeth
Escape (1938)—Mary Ellen Bute & Ted Nemeth
An Optical Poem (1938)—Oskar Fischinger
Abstract Experiment in Kodachrome (c. 1940s)—Slavko Vorpapich
NBC Valentine Greeting (1939-40)—Norman McLaren
Stars and Stripes (1940)—Norman McLaren
Tarantella (1940)—Mary Ellen Bute, Ted Nemeth & Norman McLaren
Spook Sport (1940)—Mary Ellen Bute, Ted Nemeth & Norman McLaren
Danse Macabre (1922)—Dudley Murphy
Peer Gynt (1941)—David Bradley, starring Charlton Heston (excerpt)
Introspection (1941/46)—Sara Kathryn Arledge

Year: 1894-1946
Running time: 155 minutes
Contents: 33 Films
Format: B/W & Color;
Sound & Silent
Region: 0
Available as part of 7-disc box set

Buy Now

"A joyous event…‘movies as art’ that not only succeed as challenging entertainment but also have proven to be hugely influential on the craft of cinema."
–Chicago Tribune

is one of a seven-DVD series exploring American avant-garde cinema from 1894-1941. Presented by Anthology Film Archives in association with the British Film Institute, Cineric, Film Preservation Associates, Deutsches Filmmuseum, George Eastman House, The Library of Congress and The Museum of Modern Art.

"The cliché that Maya Deren’s films in the 1940s and the birth of the American avant-garde coincided is very clearly corrected in this program. That doesn't lessen the overarching importance of Deren, nor of the global avant-garde (Eggeling, Richter, Man Ray, or Vertov), but rather adds a multiple of perspectives to the old view."
–Tip Magazine, Berlin

Films preserved by
Anthology Film Archives
Film Preservation Associates
Gosfilmofond of Russia
Harry Ransom Center University of Texas Austin
Institut Valencia de Cinematografia le Filmoteca
Jugoslovenska Kinoteka
The Library of Congress
Lobster Films, Paris
The Museum of Modern Art
National Archives and Records Administration
National Film Board of Canada
Turner Entertainment Company
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.
George Eastman House
University of South Carolina Newsfilm Archive

Music by
Eric Beheim
Marc Blitzstein
Robert Israel
Neal Kurz
Shane Ryan
Rodney Sauer
Donald Sosin

Notes by
Aram Boyajian
Terry Cannon
Harold Casselton
David Curtis
Susan Delson
R. Bruce Elder
Robert A. Haller
Jan-Christopher Horak
David James
Janis Londraville
Scott MacDonald
Bruce Posner
David Shepard
Cecile Starr
Paul Spehr
Jennifer Wild

Curated by Bruce Posner
Produced for DVD by David Shepard
Released by Image Entertainment

Sponsored by Anthology Film Archives, New York, and Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main.
Made possible in part by Cineric, Inc., Eastman Kodak Company, and Film Preservation Associates, Inc.

An Optical Poem © 1938 Loew’s, Inc.
NBC Valentine Greeting © 1985 National Film Board of Canada
Stars and Stripes © 1940 National Film Board of Canada
Wonder Bar © 1934 Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

Special Contents of this Edition © 2005 by Anthology Film Archives