There are dozens and dozens of amazing movies about black dance that it could fill your entire summer. Here’s 7 of my top favorite movies that I think everyone should watch at least once.
Released in 1943, it featured a legencary cast including Lena Horne, Cab Calloway and Katherine Dunham (of the Dunham technique). But my fav part of this movie is the Nicholas Brothers. Filmed in one take and almost cut from the movie, this tap sequence goes down in history as the greatest of all time. Watch it now.
This 1984 cult classic was my first real intro to poppin, lockin and breakin – though I must admit it was 10 years after the movie release. While others preferred Breakin’ (also released in 1984), Beat Street is definitely my fav. To think, many thought hip hop was going to be a fad. Watch the Trailer.
Paris is Burning
If you love the show Pose or Madonna’s Vogue music video, than you must watch Paris is Burning. This 1990 documentary dives into the drag Balls of NYC and the birth of dance styles voguing and whacking. You’ll learn what these styles are really about and see some of the brave people who developed its gravitas. Watch the trailer.
Also released in 1990, House Party was my jam. Starring Kid & Play, the movie showed more of the party styles of hip hop. The dance-off near the end of the movie featured the Kid and Play dance which I’m sure everyone has done at least once at a party. It spawned 3 sequels. Watch it now.
You Got Served
Now this was my first realish hip hop dance movie for my generation. I admit the acting was cheesy, but those dance scenes were epic. It also exposed west coast styles like Krumpin and Clownin to the world and inspired dozens of dance movies like Step Up. Timbaland’s “Drop” is still on my hype dance songs playlist. Watch the scene.
While You Got Served showed Krumpin in the cinematic universe, this 2005 documentary showed it raw and uncut. Learn where Krumpin came from and watch how it evolved from street battles to battleground competitions. This movie is full of grit and jaw dropping movies. Watch the trailer.
Stomp the Yard
Okay so I’m a little biased on this 2007 movie because it was based heavily on the the step shows at Howard University (my alma mater). So much in fact that the creators came to our 2006 step show (I choreographed and stepped for Zeta Phi Beta) to prepare. And there are a few people I know in the final scene. Watch the trailer.
Written By: Tyria Saul
Tyria was born dancing and at age 5 began officially taking lessons. After studying ballet, tap, jazz, african dance, and lyrical at schools around the Greater Philadelphia area including Folcroft Dance Center (PA) Christina Cultural Arts Center (DE), Academy of the Dance (DE), and Rosina School of Dance (NJ), Tyria took a step away from the dance floor at age 19. Six years later she would fall back in love with dance in the hip hop class of Sammy Reyes at Koresh School of Dance in Philadelphia. Starting back as a way to release stress, dance became a source of freedom for Tyria. Tyria is a performer for Sanbrooka Productions in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Community Tap Project. She has taught hip hop and heels with DivaDance PHL and is excited to share a dance floor with you!