Snake Dance Teacher Dance

Snake Dance Teacher Dance from Ile Ife Films on Vimeo.

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 recently featured at the Farnsworth Art Museum. (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

Available on DVD

To inquire
email or use response form
or write
The Arthur Hall Collection
754 Mount Ephraim Road
Searsport, Maine 04974
or call 207-548-2445

Arthur Hall | The Arthur Hall Collection | Ile Ife Films