Get Your Groove Back: Dancing with the Archive

Whether your idea of dancing is grabbing your partner to swing round and round or expressing yourself artistically through modern dance or bopping your head to the tunes on an iPod during your morning commute, it’s likely that you’ve danced recently. Dance has always been a universal mode of expression and popular pastime to relax and join in community.

On the Archive, there are all kinds of examples of how people have shaken their tail feather throughout the ages in different parts of the world. Through dance manuals and videos, we get a unique peer into people’s groove.

Watch the Moves

  • Young children perform a traditional Spanish folk dance
  • A solo ballet circa 1940, music by Reinhold Gliere
  • A Texan dance group performs an Egyptian belly dance in 2007
  • Footage and interviews from a New York hip hop dance conservatory, a “hip hop boot camp”
  • An ancient-style Japanese dance given in Niigata, Japan in 2001
  • A short clip of late-night club dancing
  • A young girl dancing an Irish jig
  • Read About the Moves

  • An Arden Holt dance manual from 1907 discussing choreography and dance masters
  • A text from 1899 covering the anti-dance stance in which social dance is deemed sinful
  • A 1920 dance manual giving instructions for popular dances of the day
  • Reginald St. Johnson’s book on the history of dance as of 1906
  • A short pamphlet published in 1892 outlining the Highland Fling, a popular dance for children
  • A 1916 manual explaining proper dance positions
  • A manual dating back to 1735 offers an explanation of their modern dancing
  • Take some notes from these various styles and have some fun at the club, in the car, or on stage…your dance venue is up to you.

    –Cara Binder