This film is part of Free
The Sports and Nations' Dance, Grand Finale and Curtain, On Open Air Stage at Crystal Palace
A Victorian stage spectacle filmed at the magnificent Crystal Palace in south London
This is one of the first films made at the Crystal Palace, which was built in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851, before moving south of the river. On the Palace's open-air stage, elaborate costumes and choreography create a grand finale to bring the curtain down. In this pageant scenario, men and mostly women in the national dress of different nations dance together. A pennant emblazoned 'arts' suggests this is a celebration of global culture, the very thing the palace was built for.
This film was made by the Warwick Trading Company, an early American film production outfit run from a London office. Warwick specialised in actuality films, shot all over the world. In a time when few people could afford to travel, these movies brought far-flung sights to the first film audiences.