Dance is more than the pirouette of a ballet dancer and the fast-footed rhythm of tap. Each movement has a history, each angle wordlessly expresses an emotion, and a whole story can be embodied in a single step. In honor of Black History Month, Google Arts & Culture takes a look at top dance companies and individuals who use their talents to create a moving commentary on the black experience.
The stories being told by these dancers and choreographers uphold the fact that black dance doesn’t stand independently of black history, but rather wordlessly expresses the narrative of a people through movements, productions, and an individual’s career. Their work raises social issues with their choreography, strengthens community through their programming, and uses history as a source of inspiration.
The performances created by these dancers are connected to the most iconic places, people, and events in history; with them you can explore themes spanning activism, women’s rights, LGBT intersectionality, and iconic literature and art.
Discover how Arthur Mitchell, the first black principal dancer of New York City Ballet was inspired by the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to provide the children of Harlem with the opportunity to study dance and transform their lives by establishing the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Watch clips of choreographer Reggie Wilson’s reinterpretation of writer Zora Neal Hurston’s Moses, Man of the Mountain or learn the story of how the Lindy Hop was born in Harlem.
The story of black dance is the story of black history and culture.
The Alte Pinakothek is one of the most important art galleries in the world. It presents over 700 works of European painting from the 14th to 18th centuries, including one of the largest collections of paintings by Albrecht Dürer and Peter Paul Rubens.