Arts and Music

If Cities Could Dance

Every city has its rhythm—every dancer, their street. Step into the shoes of dancers from across the country who dare to imagine what it would look like if their city could dance. Performing on street corners and other unconventional settings, each episode tells an intimate, personal story about the artists and their deep-rooted connections to community.

Katherine Dunham and the Dances of the African Diaspora

6m 57s

African American dance legend Katherine Dunham turned East St. Louis into an important hub of the Black Arts movement. By 1972, she directed an artist relief program, started a student dance company, and opened a museum dedicated to African art. Meet some of the city's culture keepers and watch Dunham program alums perform in front of the Katherine Dunham Museum, and in downtown East St. Louis.

Episodes

  • Katherine Dunham and the Dances of the African Diaspora: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Katherine Dunham and the Dances of the African Diaspora

    S4 E6 - 6m 57s

    African American dance legend Katherine Dunham turned East St. Louis into an important hub of the Black Arts movement. By 1972, she directed an artist relief program, started a student dance company, and opened a museum dedicated to African art. Meet some of the city's culture keepers and watch Dunham program alums perform in front of the Katherine Dunham Museum, and in downtown East St. Louis.

  • Hip Hop Dance Legend Rennie Harris Shares Five Major Moments: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Hip Hop Dance Legend Rennie Harris Shares Five Major Moments

    S4 E5 - 6m 58s

    Dancer, Choreographer and Artistic Director Rennie Harris explains his time founding and running the first and longest running hip hop dance company in the U.S., Rennie Harris Puremovement; working on performances "Endangered Species" and "Rome and Jewels"; dancing with The Scanner Boys; touring on the U.S.'s first hip hop tour, The Fresh Festival; and hosting the TV dance show One House Street.

  • Philadelphia’s House Dancers Preserve the Soul of the Scene: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Philadelphia’s House Dancers Preserve the Soul of the Scene

    S4 E4 - 9m 26s

    The infusion of soul helps make Philadelphia house so distinct from its harder-edged Chicago, Detroit and New York counterparts. More than three decades later, a tight-knit, intergenerational community of house dancers, DJs and event producers in Philadelphia are still working, amidst commercialization and club closures, to keep the original underground spirit of the scene alive.

  • How Hula Dancers Connect Hawaii’s Past and Present: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How Hula Dancers Connect Hawaii’s Past and Present

    S4 E3 - 6m 42s

    For Native Hawaiians, the origins of hula are deeply spiritual and rooted in Hawaii’s creation stories and the history and culture of their kūpuna or ancestors. Many sacred dances have been passed down through centuries of kumu hula, or hula instructors, like Honolulu’s Snowbird Puananiopaokalani Bento, who trained decades to master the language, choreography and protocols.

  • How Black Roller Skaters Carry Forward LA's Iconic Scene: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How Black Roller Skaters Carry Forward LA's Iconic Scene

    S4 E2 - 6m 33s

    In LA, jam skaters draw from a community and culture built over generations at Venice Beach and at rinks across the city. Over the past year, roller skating hit the mainstream as a safe and relatively accessible pandemic-era pastime. Skates were sold out for months, and skaters became major influencers on Instagram and TikTok. But longtime skaters are quick to remind everyone: This isn’t a fad.

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