The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum Collection
A Step in Time Video
This film captures how the Greek, Slovenian, and Irish communities of Cleveland dance as a way of socializing, while also preserving their cultural identity at picnics, wedding receptions, festivals, clubs, and bars.
It showcases the Greek Pentozali circle dance as well as the dragging and shuffling Syrtos dance in the Cretan style, being danced to the music of the bouzouki during picnics and get-togethers.
Slovenes are shown dancing the traditional polka in folk costumes but the film also shows how Slovenians dance to Cleveland-style polka, a derivative of traditional Slovenian polka, in their everyday lives in downtown polka bars and local festivals such as the All Nations Festival. Clevelander Frank Yankovic, the King of Polka, tells about how he got started playing the accordion and Slovenian polkas and how it lead up to the release of his #1 hit, Just Because.
The Irish are shown dancing the Siege of Ennis in the County Mayo style at a wedding reception. The film also shows the St. Patrick's Day parade heading to a mass for the Blessing of the Shamrock at St. Colman’s Roman Catholic Church.
According to former executive director, Annette Fromm, this film "strives to break the simplistic view of folk-dance accentuated by the citywide, multi-ethnic festivals" by investigating how dance “exists on the community social level rather than the public performance level”. The film was one of the many ways that the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum sought to document the cultural life of Cleveland residents.
This film was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council. This film was digitized from a 16mm film reel housed at Cleveland State University Library. Permission to digitize was granted by Annette Fromm.