This “History Of Dance Video” Will Make You Want To Move

With the ubiquity of the Dougie, the whip, and the New Jersey running man in popular culture, many have probably accepted these dances as mere trends. In the video above, choreographer and dance educator Camille A. Brown explains why they're so much more than the stuff of viral videos. These contemporary dances are actually the latest additions to a centuries-old tradition of social dances within African-American communities. "The present always contains the past, and the past shapes who we are and who we will be," Brown explains. Brown traces these social dances from their 19th-century origins among enslaved Africans to their Jazz Age incarnations, such as the Charleston. Throughout history, she says, these dances have reflected a desire for freedom from oppression while forging connections between those who knew the steps. After watching the video, it's clear that the dances are not only fun to watch; they also represent a rich history, managing to to blur traditional social boundaries and foster a sense of belonging. They encourage self-expression while also signifying a group identity. They're constantly evolving, as much a catalyst for cultural change as a result thereof. These dances are deeply rooted in African-American culture — and they certainly warrant a longer look than your average Vine affords.

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