Origin: This clip is from an early 1900s movie. In it we see two people dancing in the style of the Victorian era. Even though the Victorian era had technically ended at this point, it still greatly influenced how people behaved and what was considered acceptable in society.
Purpose: The dancing in this shot and the filming of it tells us a lot about the time. The filming is very basic: straight in front, without much or any movement which shows that they either didn’t think much about camera angles at the time (which is very likely considering how new the concept of film was) or didn’t find changing the camera angle necessary, allowing the viewer to simply focus on the couple dancing. While the piece was most likely not created to make people follow a desired social norm, but more likely to have a video that people could relate to as the social norm. Around the turn of the century, things are often changing. This video of the couple dancing however, was not progressive, but stayed much more towards what had been previously been done in society, and showed people that they could continue with what they knew.
Value: This video not only allows us to see what was considered acceptable at this time as far as male-female interactions, it also shows us how people who would’ve been interacting (people of the same social class) would dress at the time. While clothing is not directly related to dancing, it allows us to see what else would’ve been considered acceptable to wear in public where other people of importance could see you.
Limitations: While this clip can show us what much dancing at the time was like, it still has its limitations. We don’t know which social class was most likely to dance in this style, nor do we know what other styles of dance were prevalent at the time. We also don’t know why this was the specific type of dancing that was picked to show what was normal at the time.