Dove Executive Director Comments: This DVD has many special features and is a wealth of information on the 20th Century of Social Dance. In the Special Features selection you can learn the dance descriptions, timelines, bibliography, credits, instructional text and a preview of Volume 1. On a computer, you can access a timeline or bibliography that gives you more in depth information. You can dive into the text portion of the DVD either with the video or with just the text being displayed. The text is very informative. For example, in the 1910’s Novelty Dances were the rage. Irene and Vernon Castle codified the latest parallel-stepping dance crazes, giving steps dignity and form. The Castle Walk is thoroughly explained: “The step out is a step which can be done anytime during the one step. It is simply stepping out at the side of your partner so that instead of walking in front you are walking a little to the side of each other.” The viewer can learn the zig zag step, the spin, lifts and the Jig Saw; all the steps are explained in detail. There is just a ton of information on so many 20th Century Dances in this volume. Dance enthusiast and history buffs will love it. Dancetime Publications did a marvelous job of putting this DVD together.
Reviewer’s comments: This video follows the same concept of Volume 1, only it starts and ends with the 20th century (1910s-1990s). The music and dancing has a bit more variety, and follows social dancing mainly in America as opposed to Europe. The subtitles and setting follow the same rhythm as Volume 1, only with the occasional prop brought on by the dancers (example: man with a cigarette from a dance in 1910, woman with a glowing ball in 1970). Dances become a bit more upbeat and the costumes of the dancers are a lot more diverse as time passes on.
The only true dance of concern is the “Apache” from 1910, where the male dancer is a smoker who has no care toward his female partner, aside from apparent lustful intentions. In some moments he will cast her to the ground in a rough manner, which is followed only by her returning to him with open arms. However, this dance and a few others are likely accurate to their time and only being informative without attempt to promote.
This video’s target age isn’t clearly defined. The opening dance is the “Animal” dance…where the dancers frolic about on stage imitating different animals (rabbit, turkey, etc.) which suggests that the target may be a younger audience. The opening dance leaves viewers with confusion; it doesn’t follow the idea of accurate social dancing, but seems to be just an entertaining dance they decided to open with. However, the setting may lose the interest of a child, and the sequence of dances may be more appealing to adults who can relate to the different eras. Thus, as stated before, the target audience is hard to place. This DVD is very interesting and those who love to dance or want to experience dance in days past will really enjoy watching this.