Episode 62: Exploring The Roots Of Broadway Dance

In This Episode

“The story of Jazz Dance is the story of America.”

My guests today are the creators of the acclaimed new film documentary: Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance, which has been winning awards at film festivals around the world, and in the US can currently be seen on HBO Max.  

All three of the film’s creators are from the UK, they all have extensive training and backgrounds in dance, and with this movie they are all making their feature length film debuts.

The film’s director is Khadifa Wong who trained as a dancer and actress but became frustrated by the lack of opportunities for performers of color, and then realized that her true passion lay behind the camera.

Producer, Lisa Donmall-Reeve, migrated to film following a very successful twenty year career as a performer that included playing many leading roles on London’s West End.

And dancer, choreographer and educator, Zak Nemorin – who conceived the film – has appeared in seventeen West End musicals and is the Head of Jazz Dance at Millennium Performing Arts in London.

To create the film they interviewed 70 experts – dancers, choreographers, educators and historians – regarding the history of Jazz dance as well as the evolution of its many roots and branches, including Debbie Allen, Josh Bergasse, Al Blackstone, Andy Blankenbuehler, Bob Boross, Camile Brown, Warren Carlyle, Graciela Danielle, George Faison, Thomas De Frantz, Karen Hubbard, Saleemah Knight, Bonnie Langford, Martine Mattox, Jerry Mitchell, Mandy Moore, Walter Painter, Travis Payne, Arlene Phillips, Chita Rivera, Susan Stroman, and Chet Walker to name only a few.

Along the way they explore where Jazz dance originated and how it became the dance language of Broadway. 

I highly recommend it!

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