World of Dance Reaction Season 4 Ep 2

Dancing in Dark Skin and Social Justice

When I look back at the beginning of Dancing in Dark Skin, I realized that I created it in 2014, my first year at Spelman College. It was around this time that I started to learn about dance and social justice. I learned how dance was used and is being used to make change all over the world. I wanted to create another platform to amplify my voice as a black artist.

I am consciously coming to the conclusion that over the past few years I have not been intentionally using this platform for change.

Recently I have been making post about black artists from our history who have set the foundation and paved the way for all of us. Black people being able to sit orchestra level at a show (about black people) would not be legal if it weren’t for the work of our ancestors. So I will continue to say their names and share their history.

In 2016 I was President of Spriggs Burroughs Drama and Dance Ensemble and we were encouraged by administration to lead the way as ARTISTS on campus and organize demonstrations and events in response to the murders of Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Freddie Grey, Tamir Rice, Ayanna Jones and so many more.

We created a week of events entitled The Neo Black Arts Movement, in homage to BAM (the Black Arts Movement of the 1960’s and 70’s). The week included rally’s, play readings, documentary watching, discussions and a march around the Atlanta University Center. Today I want to share a piece that I performed at the rally with Assata Hefner, written by Janerica Smith.

To be completely transparent, for me to get up and generate movement during this time is tough. So I am going to do what I can and share what I can.

Spriggs Burroughs is still doing the work:

Follow Spriggs on Instagram for updates @spriggsburroughs

Thank you for supporting this platform! Let’s make change!

Here are some links to learn and support protesters and activist that are doing the ground work right now!

Elida Webb

  • Born 1895 in Virginia.
  • Broadway Show credits include:
    • Flying Colors (1932)
    • Show Boat (1932)
    • Singing the Blues (1931)
    • Lucky (1927)
  • Staged all the musicals, dance specials, and chorus numbers for the club “Runnin’ Wild” in 1923.
  • Claimed to have invented the Charleston dance.
  • Studied dance under Ada Overton Walker.
  • One of the first black choreographers on  Broadway.
  • Danced and choreographed at The Cotton Club.
  • Died 1975.

Picture Credit:

Dora Dean

  • Known for performing the cakewalk with partner Charles Johnson in the all black musical “The Creole Show” in New York
  • Born in Kentucky around 1872.
  • She was so good at the cakewalk that she booked solo engagements at vaudeville theaters in New York.
  • First black performer to wear thousand dollar costumes.
  • Toured Europe
  • Performed and produced the shows:
    • Dore Dean & Co
    • Dore Dean and Her Phantoms
  • Retired in the 1920s.
  • Died December 13, 1949.



photos from


George Walker

  • Born in Lawrence, Kansas in the early 1870s
  • He was a child performer in black mistral shows.
  • Met George Walker in 1893 and started a musical comedy Act
  • Billed themselves as “Two Real Coons”
  • Made fashionable dances based on African Dance
  • Rejuvenated the Cakewalk
  • By 1902 the duo started producing musicals, (In Dahomey)
  • “We’re not long in deciding that if we ever reached the point of having a show of our own, we would delineate and feature African characters as far as we could and still remain American, and make our acting interesting and entertaining to American audiences.” -Walker, Theatre Magazine 1906
  • Walkers last show was Bandanaland (1907)
  • Walker died January 8, 1911


Bert Williams

  • Born in the Bahamas in 1876
  • Grew up in Riverside, California
  • Met George Walker in 1893 and presided him to start a musical comedy Act
  • Billed themselves as “Two Real Coons”
  • Made fashionable dances based on African Dance
  • Rejuvenated the Cakewalk
  • By 1902 the duo started producing musicals, (In Dahomey)
  • First African American to dance with Ziegfeld Follies
  • Only Black performer on Broadway from 1913 to 1917
  • Williams was also a comedian and composer
  • Died March 4, 1922

bert williams