Up 7,390 this week

Annabelle Serpentine Dance (1895)

 -  Documentary | Short  -  1895 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,018 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

Annabelle (Whitford) Moore performs one of her popular dance routines. She uses her dance steps and her long, flowing skirts to create a variety of visual patterns.

0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

Alpha House Premieres Today

All ten episodes of the second season of "Alpha House" are available starting today. Watch them now, only on Prime Instant Video.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 27 titles
created 03 Mar 2012
list image
a list of 39 titles
created 29 Dec 2012
list image
a list of 280 titles
created 20 Jul 2013
a list of 41 titles
created 4 months ago
a list of 21 titles
created 3 weeks ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Annabelle Serpentine Dance (1895)

Annabelle Serpentine Dance (1895) on IMDb 6.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Annabelle Serpentine Dance.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A gardener is watering his flowers, when a mischievous boy sneaks up behind his back, and puts a foot on the water hose. The gardener is surprised, and looks into the nozzle to find out why... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière
Stars: François Clerc, Benoît Duval
Baby's Dinner (1895)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A baby is seated at a table between its cheerful parents, Auguste and Marguerite Lumière. While the father is feeding the baby with a spoon, the mother is pouring coffee into her cup. The ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière
Stars: Auguste Lumière, Mrs. Auguste Lumiere, Andrée Lumière
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Another milestone in film history - this may well have been the very first film to have been developed and shown to its subjects (the members of the Congress of Photographic Societies) on ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière
Stars: Auguste Lumière, P.J.C. Janssen
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Auguste Lumière directs four workers in the demolition of an old wall at the Lumière factory. One worker is pressing the wall inwards with a jackscrew, while another is pushing it with a ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière
Stars: Auguste Lumière
Short | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A humorous subject intended to be run as a part of a railroad scene during the period in which the train is passing through a tunnel.

Director: George Albert Smith
Stars: Laura Bayley, George Albert Smith
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A group of people are standing in a straight line along the platform of a railway station, waiting for a train, which is seen coming at some distance. When the train stops at the platform, ... See full summary »

Directors: Auguste Lumière, Louis Lumière
Annie Oakley (1894)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The 'Little Sure Shot' of the 'Wild West.' Exhibition of Rifle Shooting at Glass Balls, etc. (from the Edison Catalog)

Director: William K.L. Dickson
Stars: Annie Oakley
The Kiss (1896)
Short | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Two people kiss.

Director: William Heise
Stars: May Irwin, John C. Rice
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A man opens the big gates to the Lumière factory. Through the gateway and a smaller doorway beside it, workers are streaming out, turning either left or right. Most of them are women in ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière
Short | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A short film depicting the execution of Mary, Queen of the Scots. Mary is brought to the execution block and made to kneel down with her neck over it. The executioner lifts his axe ready to... See full summary »

Director: Alfred Clark
Stars: Robert Thomae
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Three men hammer on an anvil and pass a bottle of beer around.

Director: William K.L. Dickson
Stars: Charles Kayser, John Ott
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Annabelle (Whitford) Moore performs one of her popular dances. For this performance, her costume has a pair of wings attached to her back, to suggest a butterfly. As she dances, she uses her long, flowing skirts to create visual patterns.

Director: William K.L. Dickson
Stars: Annabelle Moore


Cast overview:
Annabelle Moore ...
Herself (as Annabelle)


Two dancers perform in succession facing a stationary camera. The first is in a diaphanous skirt, held out by her hands with arms extended. She smiles, wearing butterfly wings on her back and the wings of Mercury in her hair. Her dance emphasizes the movement of her visible, bare legs. She kicks high, bows, and moves to her right and left. The second dancer has a voluminous, long skirt, and holds sticks in each hand attached to the skirt's outer edges, so that the emphasis is on the swirling patterns the skirt makes, often obscuring her unsmiling face. Her feet move little on the unadorned stage; changes in the color of the lens filter accent the swirling patterns. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dance | wings | dance routine | leg | kick | See All (11) »


Documentary | Short




Release Date:

1895 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Annabelle No. 2  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (hand-tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Featured in Sex at 24 Frames Per Second (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Firsts: Color and Dance
1 December 2007 | by See all my reviews

Color and dance didn't begin with this film; sometime between October and November 1894, the Edison Company filmed and later hand-colored three dance films: "Imperial Japanese Dance" and two films featuring Lucy Murray. Carmencita had already danced before the Kinetograph in probably the first filmed dance during March. Moreover, this film, "Annabelle Serpentine Dance", is at least the third time that Annabelle Whitford Moore appeared before the Kinetograph for a series of dance films. This is, however, one of the earliest we've inherited with a colorized print (exhibitors had the option to pay less for no hand-coloring), and it is, I think, one of the more interesting early dance films.

According to Charles Musser's exhaustive research ("Annotated Filmography"), Annabelle first performed her Butterfly, Serpentine and Sun dances before the Kinetograph by 10 August 1894. These films were very popular and eventually the negatives would wear out. Thus, by February 1895, Annabelle was back in the "Black Maria" to repeat her performances. Between April and August 1895, she returned once again, which is when she made this film--the one most commonly available (Edison: The Invention of the Movies, the Movies Begin series). (The Viva la Dance-Unseen Cinema DVD features three versions of Annabelle's Serpentine Dance, as well as two versions of her Butterfly Dance, one of her Sun Dance, and two films of the Serpentine Dance as performed by others.) In the "Filmography", Musser also includes two unidentified versions of Annabelle performing the Serpentine Dance. He suspects that one of them was made in the fall of 1894 and the other, which Annabelle performs barefoot, was made sometime between 1895 and 1897. William K.L. Dickson also filmed Annabelle's Serpentine Dance and other dances for American Mutoscope in 1896. Overall, that's six films of Annabelle performing the Serpentine Dance.

On a further note, the Butterfly Dance is easily distinguishable from the Serpentine Dance, as Annabelle is wearing butterfly wings on her back in addition to milder skirt fluttering and different dance movements that mimic a butterfly rather than a serpent. Nevertheless, these films have been misrepresented (including on the Movies Begin) as Serpentine Dance films. The Sun Dance is closer to the Serpentine Dance, however, but involves Annabelle sitting on the floor shortly in a pose, like the Sun eclipsing (Unseen Cinema mistakes one of these as a Serpentine Dance).

Many others around the world also performed the Serpentine Dance, and they were often made in imitation of the Edison-Annabelle films. The Sklandowsky brothers projected it onto the screen with "Serpentinen Tanz" (1895), performed by a Miss Ancion. Apparently, leading French filmmakers, Georges Méliès, Alice Guy, and the Lumière Company all took turns in producing their cinematic versions, as well. One of the Edison films was also one of the first films that Méliès and Robert Paul exhibited (including cinematically) before making their own.

Loïe Fuller originally created and performed the Serpentine Dance on stage. The dance, as seen in this film, is essentially the dancer fluttering wands attached with swaths of silk extending from the dancer's skirt in an abstract manner that resembles the movement of a serpent. On the stage, this was accompanied by color transformations created by the lighting effects reflecting upon the fabric. It's ingenious that this film, one of the first of its kind, is hand colored, or tinted, to provide a correspondent affect on film. The Kinetograph was an immobile, deaf, black-and-white recorder essentially trapped within the "Black Maria" studio, offering viewers the same sunlit shadows and black background for every film. The hand coloring makes all the difference--makes it beautiful. As Annabelle waves her skirt, we see the colors transform from yellow to red and purple. Additionally, her hair is continuously tinted red. One can see in the extant posters and photographs that Fuller likewise achieved color transformations, as well as changes in lighting, in her stage performances. She also took her Serpentine Dance further--and was an inspiration among the Art Nouveau movement--than is represented in Annabelle's performance, which is limited to 50 feet of film and the imitative performance of a relative amateur. The Lumière film, which takes place on a stage (and is colorized), is probably closer to Fuller's work.

Furthermore, dance is often metaphorically sexual and that's the case with this film, although not in an overly obvious manner (or much at all to today's eyes). "Fatima's Coochee-Coochee Dance" (1896), a belly dance, although tame by today's standards, was censored via crossbars across the frame--blocking out her chest and hip areas. Additionally, as Musser has pointed out, the individualized peephole nature of Kinetoscope viewing was consistent with this eroticism and voyeurism and accentuated it. On the other end, spectators could partake in viewing Sandow flex his muscles and pose while wearing a scantly loincloth, or view the popular boxing bouts.

"Annabelle Serpentine Dance" also represents one of the many early films that took their subjects from vaudeville and the stage. Known as "Peerless Annabelle" on the stage, Moore had recently made her début in 1893 and would continue to have a successful theatrical career after appearing in film. She was only about 17 years old when Heise made this film, after all.

This film also fits into Tom Gunning's definition of the "cinema of attractions". These early films are non-narrative in the general sense, but rather present something of novelty or interest without the building up of a story. "Annabelle Serpentine Dance" is a spectacle for the eye--without a story, yet not absent of meaning and art--brief but captivating.

(Note: This is the third in a series of my comments on 10 "firsts" in film history. The other films covered are Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge (1888), Blacksmith Scene (1893), The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (1895), La Sortie des usines Lumière (1895), L' Arroseur arose (1895), L' Arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat (1896), Panorama du Grand Canal vu d'un bateau (1896), Return of Lifeboat (1897) and Panorama of Eiffel Tower (1900).)

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Early 'colorized' movie. spud-48
Discuss Annabelle Serpentine Dance (1895) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page