Updated: Aug 6, 2021
As seen in Dance Teacher Magazine article Eight BIPOC Choreographers Your Students Should Know.
Below you will find a list of one hundred and one dancers and choreographers of color to add to your dance curriculum. In honor of highlighting black voices, over fifty percent of the list is comprised of black dancers. By no means is this a fully comprehensive list, but one hundred and one is a good place to start. The following was made primarily as a resource for educators to supplement their curriculum by providing names they may or may not have known about. This compilation has been categorized by the broad sections of Socially Derived & Ballroom Dance, Traditional & Classical Dance, and Contemporary & Modern Dance. Please keep in mind that many of the people listed belong in several categories but for the sake of this list have been placed into one category. The information provided on each person is to only provide a brief overview so that you can find out if they are a good candidate for the unit you are teaching.
Socially Derived & Ballroom Dance Social Dance
1. Earl “Snakehips” Tucker (1906-1937) Black American dancer and performer during Harlem Renaissance known for his snakehips dance. 2. Eddie Torres (1950-Today) Latin American Latin and Jazz dancer known as the “Mambo King.” 3. Florence Mills (1896-1927) Black American comedian, dancer, and singer of the Harlem Renaissance. 4. Frankie Manning (1914-2009) Black American choreographer and dancer known for having significant contributions to the Lindy Hop 5. Griselle Ponce (1979-Today) Puerto Rican Latin dancer known as the “Mambo Diva.” 6. Johnny Vazquez (1979- Today) Mexican salsa dancer known for popularizing a style of salsa in Los Angeles. 7. Josephine Baker (1906-1975) Black American jazz dancer and singer who gain much of her fame in France. 8. Norma Miller (1919-2019) Black American dancer known for her significant contributions to the Lindy Hop. 9. Pedro “Tete” Rusconi (1936-2010) Argentinian Latin dancer first to teach close embrace Milonguero-style in the United States. 10. Ricardo Vidort (1929-2006) Argentinian choreographer and dancer known for his contributions to the Tango. 11. The Whitman Sisters (Mabel Whitman 1880-1942, Alberta Whitman 1887-1964, Essie Whitman 1882-1963, Alice Whitman 1900-1968)Four Black American sisters who found fame in the vaudeville circuit
12. Buddha Stretch (1968-Today) Black American hip-hop dancer known for his “free-style” hip hop and bringing old school and new school hip hop. 13. Don Campbell “Campbellock” (1951-2020) Black American known for starting the “locking” style of hip hop. Also known as “the Father of Street Dance.” 14. James Brown (1933-2006) Black American famed singer/song writer and dancer. Known as the “Godfather of Soul” and precursor to hip-hop dance. 15. Paris Goebel (1991-Today) New Zealand choreographer and hip-hop dancer known for her dance crew “The Royal Family.” 16. Rennie Harris (1964-Today) Black American hip-hop choreographer and dancer who is known for hip hops first concert touring company Rennie Harris Puremovement. 17. Sam Solomon “Boogaloo Sam” (?-?) Black American dancer know for creating “popping” hip hop style. 18. Timothy Earl Solomon “Popin’ Pete (1961-Today) Black American hip hop dancer known for popularizing “popping” hip-hop style.
Jazz/ Musical Theatre
19. Chita Rivera (1933-Today) Latin American musical theatre actress, dancer, and singer. First Latin American to receive a Kennedy Center Honors. 20. Debbie Allen (1950-Today) Black American actress, choreographer, dancer, television director, and television producer. She owns dance company the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA). 21. Garth Fagan (1940-Today) Jamaican born choreographer and dancer. Best known for his choreography in the Broadway production of The Lion King. 22. Jamie H.J Guan (?-Today) Chinese choreographer and dancer known for his Broadway work The King and I, M. Butterfly. 23. Paula Kelly (1942-2020) Black American actress, dancer, and singer most recognized for her role in “Sweet Charity.”
24. Bill Robinson (1878-1949) Black American actor, singer, and tap dancer who was the highest paid African-American entertainer in the first half of the 20th Century. 25. Buddy Bradley (1905-1972) Black American tap and jazz choreographer and dancer who founded the Buddy Bradley Dance School in London. 26. Chloe Arnold (1980-Today) Black American actress, choreographer, dancer, director and producer. Started dance company Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies. 27. Gregory Hines (1946-2003) Black American actor, choreographer, tap dancer, and singer. Renowned tapper who appears in over 40 films as well as appeared on Broadway. 28. John William Sublett “John W. Bubbles” (1902-1986) Black American tap dancer and vaudeville performer known as the father of rhythm tap. 29. Sammy Davis Jr. (1925-1990) Black American actor, comedian, singer, and tap dancer. Began his career in vaudeville. 30. Savion Glover (1973-Today) Black American actor, choreographer, and tap dancer. Developed tap style “free style hard core.” 31. The Nicolas Brothers (Fayard 1914-2006, Harold 1921-2000) Black American brother duo known for their flash dance style of tap. 32. William Henry Lane “Master Juba” (1825-1852) Black American dancer who is a precursor for tap dance. He was one of the first black performers to perform for a white audience.
Traditional & Classical Dance
33. Alicia Alonso (1920-2019) Cuban prima ballerina and choreographer who started the company Ballet Nacional de Cuba 34. Alonzo King (1952-Today) Black American ballet choreographer and dancer who founded the renowned Lines Ballet. 35. Arthur Mitchell (1934-2018) Black American ballet choreographer and dancer who founded the renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem. 36. Ingrid Silva (1988-Today) Brazilian ball