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Dance Stage with Ruth Page [1960s]

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0157
Run Time
0h 30m 49s
Date Produced
This is an episode of the program "Dance Stage" hosted by Ruth Page for National Educational Television (NET, est. 1963; formerly National Educational Television and Radio Center from 1958). Part lecture, part demonstration, the episode showcases Page and her dancers in an effort to 'educate' the public about "the art of the ballet." It includes several pas de deux from various ballets.
The film begins with the episode's opening titles superimposed over a series of couples performing pas de deux to piano music on a television studio set. As the music ends, Ruth Page enters and begins to explain that the catalyst behind an apparently effortless ballet is the choreographer; after continuing to explain the basics of dance, she concludes that it is best to simply show rather than tell. At this point, a male dancer enters the frame and performs a brief solo. Page then reenters and explains how ballet as a form is based on a fairly small cadre of steps which are then arranged into "enchainements;" she follows this with a demonstration of her own. Next, she introduces her dancers (all in practice clothes) and asks Barbara Steele to demonstrate a specific combination of steps in several different speeds and 'moods.' Chuck Schick then joins, offers a comedic take on the same, and teams up with Steele for a "jazzy" version. This serves as a transition into a demonstration of four types of lifts. Page then returns to introduce the next section, a pas de deux from the ballet "Sylvia," followed by a "coda" (finale) from the same ballet. Page then explains the effects of costumes and introduces a pas de deux in full costume. After this pas de deux is completed, Page introduces another, from Aida, to demonstrate a more stylistic ballet, in this case meant to elicit an ancient Egyptian 'mood.' She follows this by introducing a final "operatic" pas de deux: the Anvil Chorus from "Il Trovatore," with the dancers meant to be stylized as Spanish Gypsies. One this final pas de deux is complete, Page reenters to discuss the inspiration for choreographers' ballets: often a piece of music or poetry. She recites poems that she finds inspiring, by e.e. cummings and Charles Baudelaire. For the final scene of the program, Page brings forth her four dancers for a Viennese Waltz from her ballet "The Merry Widow." She promises that "next time" there will be a discussion of the pas de deux and exits. The episode concludes with ending credits juxtaposed over waltzes, as at the beginning. After "national Educational Television" flashes onscreen and is announced, the film goes blank until ending.
Main Credit
National Educational Television (corporate name)
Mansfield, Richard (is director)
Additional Credit
Kayan, Neal (music)
Manschot, William (is lighting director)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Page, Ruth (is host)
Steele, Barbara (is performer)
Buro, Etta (is performer)
Johnson, Kenneth (is performer)
Schick, Charles (is performer)