Snake Dance Teacher Dance

Snake Dance
Teacher Dance

Arthur Hall, choreography
Norman Mills, music
with the students and staff
of Winthrop (Maine)
Elementary School

Awards | Credits

Dancer-in-residence Arthur Hall choreographs a West African Festival in a small mill
town in Maine, and everyone joins in the dance. Gradeschoolers and their teachers and
even the school's administrators perform in costume dances of Ghana, Liberia, and
Sierra Leone. The evening is topped by Arthur Hall's remarkable rendition of
the Dahomey Snake Dance, while the Ghost Dance provides the visual refrain of the film.

... the images musically compose a layered experience
of cultures, ideas, bodies, and histories.

Nat Segaloff
CBS Radio

... it was only through the incredible energy and discipline Arthur Hall
generated among the teachers that they were able to acheive such a stunning performance.
For a magic moment the teachers were transformed into dancers. A young high
school girl became an assistent drummer to Norman Mills and followed him like a
shadow wherever he went. The performance itself was smashing! The gymnasium was packed,
and for a sports oriented community, the applause, cheers and yells which spontaneously
erupted has only been heard before at basketball games.

Luckily, three professional filmmakers who have all previously worked on National
Endowment for the Arts funded films filmed and recorded not only the performance
but also the rehearsals and teacher workshops. Bruce Williams, one of the filmmakers,
worked closely with Arthur on the editing. This unique collaboration between a
dancer and filmmaker in the exquisite process of editing has enfused the film with an
extraordinary authenticity. Bruce and Arthur have continued their work together.

I have never before seen the extraordinary relationships which developed during
this production, not only between these two artists of different disciplines,
but also with the teachers, students and the whole community. This film makes a
statement about the value of the arts in education, and it does so with an excitement
and humanity that are infectious.

Gigi Ledkovsky
Maine Arts Commission

Color photographs by Ken Abendschein

Snake Dance Teacher Dance received the Honor Award for
Dance Education at the 7th annual Dance Films Festival in New York and has been
shown in American Embassies throughout Africa.

Over thirty years later, the film still seems fresh and pertinent,
having been featured at the Farnsworth Art Museum in 1996. (See Press Release)

Snake Dance Teacher Dance speaks eloquently about the importance
of the arts in education, and the mythology inherent in Arthur Hall's
Snake Dance is timeless and universal.

Snake Dance
Teacher Dance

1977, 18 minutes
16mm original, color and black and white
Bayne Williams Film MICA
C. Abbott Meader and Huey, cameras
Bruce Williams, camera, sound, editor
Arthur Hall, choreography
Norman Mills, music
with the students and staff
of Winthrop (Maine) Elementary School

with the support of the Maine Arts Commission

Arthur Hall | The Arthur Hall Collection | Ile Ife Films