Learning and executing movements can be incredible experiences alone, but there so much more to dance than steps. Each style has its own history, theories, and development that result in what we see today.
Take hip hop. Last month, hip hop dancer Duane Lee Holland spoke and demonstrated the development of this style. In the 1970s, the Bronx was central to the underground rise of hip hop music. With the construction of the Bronx Express Highway, people were displaced—uprooted. These communities began channeling their resistance and energy into music and movement.
Through this history, we learn that dance has the power to communicate: it is its own language.
Holland’s dance company participated in a cultural exchange program called DanceMotion/USA. He travelled to Eastern Europe and Russia, where they performed and collaborated with local companies. He had no knowledge of the spoken language, but he was able to connect with the dancers: “I don’t speak Russian, but I speak hip hop.”
As Holland said, “we need to start seeing hip hop as a language that develops globally as a form of resistance.”
We need to understand that our bodies can speak just as well as words.