The Spirit moves: jazz dance from turn of the century 'til 1950

United States

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Filmed over 30 years in the director’s dance studio and in the Harlem Savoy Ballroom “The Spirit Moves” is a unique assembly of jazz routines, through the development of the art. From ragtime, struts, cakewalk, through blues, bebop to calypso, mambo and rock and roll. Performed by the artists of the Savioy Ballroom of Harlem and narrated by Mura Dehn. Filmed in black and white with final 15 minute segment in colour.


production company

Dehn and Matter


Mura Dehn



Production places
United States
Production dates

Collection metadata

ACMI Identifier




Subject categories

Anthropology, Ethnology, Exploration & Travel → Harlem (New York, N.Y.)


Documentary → Documentary films - United States

Feature films

Feature films → Feature films - United States

Music & Performing Arts → Bop (Music)

Music & Performing Arts → Calypso (Music)

Music & Performing Arts → Dance music

Music & Performing Arts → Dancers

Music & Performing Arts → Dancing - United States

Music & Performing Arts → Jazz dance

Places → Harlem (New York, N.Y.)




Black and White


16mm film; Access Print (Section 1)

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If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url= |title=The Spirit moves: jazz dance from turn of the century 'til 1950 |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=25 May 2022 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}