Black Dancers Carry Joy Across the Diaspora

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Black Joy is revolutionary, and it shows up in all these small, simple but emphatic ways—like dance. Whether it’s a shoulder bop or a fully choreographed routine, the joy in dance is about freely owning your movements, and it’s an integral part of the Black experience. Black dances are always evolving. Across the country, each region has its own signature style, but each style stays true to the instinctual need to be expressive and jubilant. This Black History Month, If Cities Could Dance celebrates a few dance traditions and styles of the Black diaspora in this mixtape video (embedded above). From the bateys in Puerto Rico to train cars in the Bay Area, if the spirit moves, Black dance happens anywhere and everywhere.

We also created this If Cities Could Dance Black History playlist with videos from four seasons of the award-winning series. Below are a few of our fans' favorite episodes.

Philadelphia’s House Dancers Preserve the Soul of the Scene

A tight-knit, intergenerational community revives Philly’s soulful and inclusive house scene.

Katherine Dunham and the Dances of the African Diaspora Changing Lives

The international dance icon brought dances from the African diaspora to stages around the world, then made a home in East St. Louis.

How Black Roller Skaters Are Carrying Forward LA's Iconic Scene

Today's jam skaters draw from a community built over generations at Venice Beach and rinks across the city.

J-Setting: The Acrobatic Dance That Traveled From Southern HBCUs to the Clubs of Atlanta

The Dance Champz of Atlanta are evolving this dance beyond its roots in HBCUs and LGBTQ+ club battles.

Zydeco Dance in Houston: Black Cowboys, Trail Rides and Creole Roots

Waves of migration brought southwest Louisiana’s Creole culture to Houston’s Frenchtown, where zydeco now draws crowds of dancers young and old.

Reclaiming the Legacy of Oakland’s Boogaloo Dance Culture

Originators of the 1970s art form are passing its funk-driven, freestyle moves to a new generation.

Don’t Mute DC: How Go-Go Music Inspires the Beat Ya Feet Dance Movement

A new generation of dancers are bringing Beat Ya Feet back to the streets of D.C. in celebration of the city's rich black history. Now streaming on PBS Voices.

For the Ancestors: Bomba is Puerto Rico’s Afro-Latino Dance of Resistance

Once marginalized and near-forgotten, bomba is experiencing a resurgence in popularity and relevance with younger dancers.

Memphis Jookin: A Ballet for the Streets

Watch jookin legends and emerging stars in the scene slide, ankle break and spin through their city. Now streaming on PBS Voices.

Chicago Footwork: A Lightning-Fast Dance of Resistance

Meet some of Chicago's footworkers who challenge the city’s legacy of segregation.