Dance of the ages

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Dance of the ages
Additional title: Dance of the ages (Choreographic work : Shawn)
Shawn, Ted, 1891-1972 (Choreographer)
Mumaw, Barton, 1912-2001 (Choreographer)
Overlees, Frank (Dancer)
McCormack, Wilbur (Choreographer)
Landers, Dennis (Dancer)
Hearn, Fred (Choreographer)
Fitz-Simons, Foster (Dancer)
Delmar, Frank (Dancer)
Delmar, John (Dancer)
Meeker, Jess (Composer)
Owen, Norton (Director)
Honsa, Ron (Consultant)
Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers (Performer)
Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (Associated name)
Shawn, Ted, 1891-1972 (Dancer)
Mumaw, Barton, 1912-2001 (Dancer)
McCormack, Wilbur (Dancer)
Hearn, Fred (Dancer)
Meeker, Jess (Instrumentalist)

General Dance Video Archive

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1939
Date Created: 1989
Table of Contents
Reel 1 (56-1/2 min. total): Part I, Fire (18 min.): Movement quality based on the element fire; level of human culture - tribal; archetype - the shaman-priest. Primitive hunting dance and feast, ensemble. The shaman, Shawn. Fanning of the flame and fire dance, ensemble. High priest and initiate (Fire purification), choreographed by Mumaw; danced by Shawn and Mumaw. Dance of the priests of fire, ensemble. Part II, Water (13 min.): Movement quality based on the element water; level of human culture - city-state; archetype - poet-philosopher. Prelude: Brook and river, choreographed and danced by Overlees. The sea, water rhythms and patterns, ensemble. The poet-philosopher, Shawn and ensemble. Water patterns, vortex and storm at sea, ensemble. Ascent by evaporation, ensemble. Part III, Earth (25-1/2 min.): Movement quality based on the element earth; level of human culture - democracy; archetype - politician-demagogue. Prelude: Spirits of the earth, choreographed and danced by Mumaw. Mass, ensemble. Vegetation, ensemble. Animal study, choreographed and danced by Hearn. Labor unaided, ensemble. The village craftsmen, ensemble. The ward heeler, Shawn and ensemble. The political machine, Frank Delmar, John Delmar, and ensemble. Sport, choreographed by McCormack; danced by Mumaw and McCormack. Entrance and dance of the demagogue, Shawn and ensemble. Marching men, ensemble. Carnage, ensemble -- Reel 2 (18 min.): Part IV, Air: Movement quality based on the element air; level of human culture - beyond democracy; archetype - the creative artist. Prelude: Birth-struggle and freeing of men, Shawn and ensemble. Air, ensemble. Flight, ensemble. On a hilltop, choreographed and danced by McCormack. The whirlwind (Dance of the liberated soul), 3 men. Elevation, choreographed by Shawn and company members, ensemble. Finale: Approach to the fifth element, Shawn and ensemble.
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZIDF 7992
Shelf locator: *MGZIC 9-2203 (former)
Filmed dance
Filmed performances
Creation/production credits: Originally photographed in summer 1939 as a 16 mm silent film at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Lee, Massachusetts. Sound version produced in October 1988 with the addition of piano accompaniment edited to fit the movement. Produced by Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Inc. Project director: Norton Owen. Musical director/pianist: Jess Meeker. Technical consultant: Ron Honsa.
Creation/production credits: Choreography: Ted Shawn and others (see below). Music: Jess Meeker.
Performers: Performed by Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers: Barton Mumaw, Frank Overlees, Wilbur McCormack, Dennis Landers, Fred Hearn, Foster Fitz-Simons, Frank Delmar, and John Delmar. For Shawn's taped remarks on this film, see *MGZT 7-44 Shawn, Ted. Dance of the ages: commentary.
Funding: Preservation of this video was supported by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Physical Description
Extent: 2 videocassettes (U-matic) (86 min., 56 sec.) : sound, black and white ; 3/4 in.
Type of Resource
Moving image
RLIN/OCLC: NYPY906036810-F
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b12169187
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 66ea90e0-8741-0135-318a-6f3eaa29a275
Rights Statement
The copyright and related rights status of this item has been reviewed by The New York Public Library, but we were unable to make a conclusive determination as to the copyright status of the item. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use.

Item timeline of events

  • 1891: Creator Born
  • 1972: Creator Died
  • 1989: Created
  • 2018: Digitized
  • 2023: Found by you!
  • 2024

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Dance of the ages" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1989.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Dance of the ages" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2023.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (1989). Dance of the ages Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) Dance of the ages, (1989)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=March 24, 2023 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Dance of the ages