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Dance, Dance, Dance!: Exploring Dance Collections at the Schomburg : Moving Image and Recorded Sound
This research guide aims to give researchers an introduction to some of the dance collections that are housed across multiple departments within the Schomburg Center for Research in Black culture
The Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division collects and preserves audio and moving image (AMI) materials related to the experiences of people of African descent. In this division, they hold media formats such as:
Here you can listen to interviews of choreographers and performers, dance instruction videos, and other programs.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library. "Soolima Females Dancing." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1825. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-6fb5-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Dancing in the many cultures is almost always tied to religion or some sort of sacred ceremony. There are dances to call forth the rain, dances for a good harvest, and even traditional dances one must do when they reach a certain age or milestone in their life.
The Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division hold incredible audio and video recordings of different styles of African dance, interviews with African dance troupes and choreographers, and behind-the-scenes footage into the rehearsal process and early beginning of dance companies, performers, and choreographers.
The program is a "step-by-step course on the healing tradition and expressive movements that are unique to Africa's dance heritage". Demonstrated are six African dances: Sowu, Gbêgbé, Focodoba, Umoya, Nago, Yonwalu, Healing journey.
Filmed primarily in Cuba, this documentary is a tribute to the spiritual energy that traveled from West Africa to Cuba. Tracing the role of sacred African thought and practice in the formation of the Cuban society, culture and popular music.
Mbeni dance, performed by the Akamba community of Kenya is renowned for its fast paced and precise movements that are prompted by heavy drumming and terse instructions by the dance leader, referred to as ngumii. Adapted from ancient dances, it was given a facelift by soldiers returning from serving in the second world war, injecting in it many military characteristics including marching, saluting, shouting of instructions, shooting demonstrations etc.
"The Agikũyũ community is endowed with a rich cultural heritage in which music and dance is highly valued. Ndumo, an integral part of this heritage is strictly a girls' dance and was originally performed during the times of plenty harvests in special arenas known as ihaaro. This dance facilitated courtship for the girls thus they were expected to be morally upright and exhibit the best dancing and singing skills
Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Two African dances" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1866. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/0d88f2b0-ada3-0133-4b51-00505686a51c
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division, The New York Public Library. "Harlem WPA Street Dance" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1935 - 1943. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/4a6c0440-2893-0132-4636-58d385a7bbd0
In this interview, Katherine Dunham primarily discusses the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's tribute program, "The Magic of Katherine Dunham" which was in rehearsals at the time of the interview. She reminisces about the origins of the pieces featured in the tribute, "L'Ag'Ya" and "Barrelhouse," "Cakewalk," and "Choros."
The Oral History interview with Pearl Primus documents Pearl Primus' early years, dancing career, and anthropological pursuits.
Law! Miss Feely Whip! - wouldn't kill a skeeter!
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library. "'Law! Miss Feely Whip! - wouldn't kill a skeeter!'"" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1897. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47df-e54b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99