Five Evenings with American Dance Pioneers: Pearl Primus, Third EveningAdditional title: Recollections and Rare Films
NamesPrimus, Pearl (Speaker)Hess, Susan (Host)Hess, Susan (Project director)Powell, Alan (Videographer)
Susan Hess Modern Dance Lecture Series Video Archive
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1983-04-29
Table of ContentsReel 1. Evening with Pearl Primus [beginning] (57 min.).Reel 2. Evening with Pearl Primus [conclusion] (41 min.) -- Closing comments (1 min.) / by Susan Hess.
Library locationsJerome Robbins Dance DivisionShelf locator: *MGZIDF 1466
TopicsPrimus, PearlLectures and lecturing -- Pennsylvania -- PhiladelphiaRobeson, Paul, 1898-1976Anderson, Marian, 1897-1993New Dance Group (New York, N.Y.)African ceremonial (Choreographic work : Primus)Nash, Joe, 1919-2005Modern dance -- United StatesDance -- History -- 20th centuryAfrican American dance -- History -- 20th centuryAfrican American dancersDance and raceDance, BlackDance -- Anthropological aspects
NotesContent: Title from original video cassette label.Venue: Videotaped during talk at Hess studio in Philadelphia, Pa. 1983 April 29.Acquisition: Gift; Susan Hess; 2010.
Physical DescriptionVideocassetteExtent: 2 videocassettes (U-matic) (99 min.) : sound, color ; 3/4 in.
DescriptionReel 1 begins with Pearl Primus reading her poem, Jim Crow Train; she discusses what dance has meant to her and how it helps people to understand each other; her childhood in Trinidad; African American and African contrasts; her African dreams emerging into dances; her first performance in African Ceremonial in 1943; the importance of obtaining a Doctorate in order to gain respect and proving that dance is a language for the NYU degree; how she started as a seamstress for the New Dance Group and her first performance with them as a dancer at the World's Fair with Joe Nash as her partner; the critic John Martin declaring Primus a star in 1944; her mentors Paul Robeson and Marian Anderson teaching her and giving her advice; the persistence of Billy Holiday's comments at her performances; talking about various photographs of drums and performance shots of Primus; Jane Dudley donating a costume to her; the movement for Langston Hughes' Negro Speaks of Rivers, which she is documenting on Philadanco; being an athlete in track & field and archery at Hunter College; how Hughes talked about Primus' role in Negro Speaks of Rivers; discussion of the Conga dance and audiences laughing at the raffia masks for her work, Dance of Initiation. Reel 2 continues with talk of dance being a communication to an audience; her dance for peace, War Peace; her refusal to adhere to Billy Rose contract; photos of her husband and son; the importance of the fertility dance; teaching through her experiences and teaching authentic dance and knowing the truth; Question and Answer session with Primus talking about her dreams; explaining her dreams into dances; talking about the origin of Jazz dance as an art form; her experiences in the Belgian Congo, now Zaire; Africans rushing her after a performance while the Europeans got in cars and left; teaching at SUNY Buffalo, in communities and in New Rochelle; preacher calling her the Devil; prejudices and history of the black individuals; and conclusion by Susan Hess.
Type of ResourceMoving image
IdentifiersNYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20284980Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 4309db20-3136-0132-1d9d-3c075448cc4b
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