Movement / Matters
From the Soul Train line to the Ovahness Ball to Krumping at Black Lives Matter protests, Black Street and Club Dance in Los Angeles has allowed dancers to occupy space, create community, and flip the scripts ascribed to Black bodies in motion. Curated by Tyree Boyd-Pates, Movement/Matters is a day-long celebration of how L.A. dancers have found connection, care, power, and potential on the dance floor and in the streets.
Watch all six installments now:
1970s – Soul Train Alumni Panel
1980s – Voguing and West Coast Ballroom
1990s – Clowning
2000s – Krumping
2010s – Dance Activism and Black Lives Matters
2020 – Lula Washington Dance Theatre
Featured Short Films
Lift Every Voice
Powers that Be
House of Garcon Ball
Movement/Matters curator Tyree Boyd-Pates put together the festival’s official playlist, spanning the Soul Train years through the unofficial Black Lives Matter anthem “Alright.” Consider it the soundtrack to your own Movement/Matters dance party.
For 35 years, Soul Train took viewers on the “hippest trip in America.” Featuring the biggest names in soul, R&B, and popular music– often early in their careers – Soul Train was a crucial promotional platform for Black musicians in the 1970s and 80s and, as music critic Cassidy George wrote, “a pop cultural pipeline that taught mass audiences how to dance, how to dress, and who to listen to.”
From the earliest Harlem balls to the televised competition of Legendary, vogue has been part of Black and Latino LGBTQ culture for more than 50 years. The art form has evolved to include the hard angles and straight lines of “Old Way,” the catwalk and spinning of “New Way,” and the flow and stunts of “Vogue Fem.” Regardless of style, the art form is more than just a creative expression – it’s a community offering dancers a sense of dignity, identity, and belonging.
Every few years, voguing reemerges in mainstream media, giving a broad audience the chance to witness the creativity and fierceness of a culture that has given us everything from spectacular dips to “throwing shade.” If you want to see more of the ballroom scene’s finest past and present, check out the documentaries Paris Is Burning, Strike A Pose, and How Do I Look and the television shows Pose and Legendary. You can also take a deep dive into some of the other dance forms featured in Movement/Matters, including Clowning in David LaChapelle’s Rize.
Soul Train’s impact on American culture and society continues to resonate today. The fashion, the dance moves, the music, and the revolutionary impact of seeing Black Power come to life on the dance floor every week have been documented by everyone from cultural critic Nelson George to Soul Train superfan Questlove. Check out their books The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style and Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation.
Want to see Soul Train’s dancers in action or learn some of the moves featured in Movement/Matters? We’ve put together a Movement/Matters YouTube playlist of clips, tutorials, and films covering everything from the Skeeter Rabbit to Voguing’s duckwalk. Try a few moves, see some incredible dancers, and learn how today’s popular dances have been used by activists to advance the cause of social justice.
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