Herskovits, Melville J (Melville Jean) 1895-1963 Search this
900 feet (37 minutes) silent b&w film/video
Motion pictures (visual works)
title supplied by Archives staff (unpublished work)--archival collection
Preservation supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the National Film Preservation Foundation
Cataloging supported by Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee
Footage depicting a Shouter service typical of the Georgia coast and Sea Islands. Footage was taken around the house and yard of a Shouter leader with dances staged for documentation. The dances and movements are part of the Ring Shout tradition, also known as the Saturday night frolic. The elevated wood floor on which some dances are performed is used instrumentally to carry the sound of the dancers' feet. Scenes include members of the group engaged in "seeking" or "getting saved," a "prayer band" singing and dancing at the threshold of a house, and a harvest dance with women "picking crops" and putting them into their aprons and men "shoveling" or "hoeing." The absence of children in the footage probably reflects the fact that the dancers were recreating movements from an earlier period.
Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, MD