History & Social Studies Visual and Performing Arts

BHM Series #4: Celebrations of Culture: The Visual History of Social Dance

In honor of Black History Month, I’m reposting a previous series. A few years ago, (2015 to be exact!) I challenged myself to write 28 posts highlighting African-American History. This year I finally reached my goal!!! Check out my original post below which appeared on October 13, 2016. To see more posts in this series, click here.

Even though we are living in what many would like to believe is a “color blind” society, children today see very few positive images of Black culture. With all that is going on with the fight for Black Lives, it’s important for Black children to be educated about our great heritage. It’s important as well for non-Black children to learn the richness of our culture.

More and more, I’m coming to believe the antidote to all this hate is consciously celebrating our history and culture.

In that vein, I wanted to share a great video I came across. It provides a visual history of social dance in our country (dances like the Dab, the Twist, etc.) and also highlights some of the unrecognized contributions African-Americans have made in creating American culture. It also serves as an important example of why quality arts education is important in our schools. Enjoy!

The Visual History of Social Dance in 25 Moves

“Why do we dance? African-American social dances started as a way for enslaved Africans to keep cultural traditions alive and retain a sense of inner freedom. They remain an affirmation of identity and independence. In this electric demonstration, packed with live performances, choreographer, educator and TED Fellow Camille A. Brown explores what happens when communities let loose and express themselves by dancing together.”

Camille A. Brown’s work is the antidote to anti-black racism and a testament to the importance of art in our schools. To see more of her #BlackGirlMagic, or learn about her current projects, check out her website here.

Do you know any great artists who are helping to raise visibility of the contributions of marginalized groups to our culture? Do you know artists who are helping to push back on racial or cultural stereotypes? Please share your ideas below.

Related reads:

My homework assignment: Inspired by an SNL’s skit, I challenged myself to write 28 posts highlighting African-American culture and heritage (roughly one for each day of the month)… Do you have a great resource to share? Post it in the comments or email me!

If you found this post informative, can you please share it? Thank you!

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