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Customer Review

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most enjoyable instructional video, November 29, 2003
This review is from: How to Dance Through Time 6 Volumes Sold as Set (DVD)
Back in October,I reviewed 2 DVDs put out by a dance company called Dance Through Time and gave them the highest praise. Now I am delighted to report that their 6-volume set "How to Dance Through Time" is now available on DVDs.
First the bare facts about the contents of each volume:
Vol 1: The Romance of Mid-19th Century Couple Dances (35 minutes)--Waltz, Galop, Polka, Schottische, Polka Mazurka
Vol 2: Dances of the Ragtime Era: 1910-1920 (50 minutes)--Animal Dances, Castle Walk, Tango, Maxixe, Hesitation Waltz
Vol 3: The Majesty of the Renaissance Dance (42 minutes)--Nido d'Amore
Vol 4: The Elegance of Baroque Social Dance (42 minutes)-Minuet, Allemande, Contredance
Vol 5: Victorian Era Couple Dances (54 minutes)--Waltz, Polka, Galop, Mazurka
Vol 6: A 19th Century Ball: the Charm of Group Dances (48 minutes)--Grande March, Quadrille, Cotillon.
The order in which these should be viewed would be Vol. 3, 4, 1, 5, 6, 2, since that will keep them in chronological order. As it turns out, Vol. 4 takes the dances in Vol. 1 and gives several variations on each.
The organization of the material in each of these sets is first to go over each step of a dance several times in different tempos, from different angles, and with full explanations by the creator and head of the company, Carol Teten. You can watch, then skip back and try the steps yourself as you watch a second time, and over and over until you have it down pat.
Or like myself, who can barely stand upright on a dance floor, you can view it for the pure enjoyment of watching these personable young dancers do their thing. As is rare in videos such as these, the enjoyment level is equal to the instructional content.
At the end of each lesson, in which the dancers are in modified period costumes, the entire sequence is danced again in full costume without any narration. You might want to note down which tracks these sequences occur so you can skip right to them should you wish to show them to friends or replay them for yourself. Or you can use the menu feature to do the same. Except in the first volume, which Ms. Teten admits was pretty experimental, she explains the social structure of the society as it is reflected in each dance and now and then gives us the "sub-text" of the steps-what the dancers are acting out either consciously or subliminally. It is all fascinating stuff.
That this is a low-budget effort is obvious but here less is more, since elaborate scenery would have distracted from the dancing itself. There is a little video distortion for the first minute of Vol. 1 and for a moment in Vol. 3, but these are negligible.
Who MUST have all six volumes? Public libraries, Music and Dance departments in all high schools and colleges, local theatre groups who do "period" plays, any one who loves dance, any one interested in social history, even any one interested in psychology! That does not leave many who would not want copies of this set. Want to try only one for openers? I recommend the most fun filled one, "Dances of the Ragtime Era."
These sets are available on tapes, but that precludes the flexibility you will want to replay specific dances
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F. Behrens
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Location: Keene, NH USA

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