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Hip-Hop: History and Heritage
Dancer Abramz Tekya performs a dance in an outdoor public square while spectators watch.


Professor: E. Moncell Durden

Tuition: $295 member / $370 non-member

6 Weeks; 1.5 NDEO-Endorsed PDCs

August 1 to September 11, 2022

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As dance educators, we have a responsibility to give credit and respect to all forms by including context, heritage, and history in our lessons. Understanding and sharing the rich cultural context and stories behind hip-hop dance can not only enhance your teaching, but also grow respect for the hip-hop genre and those who created it.

Shaped by cultural and political circumstances in the 1970s and developed during economic struggles and environmental turmoil, hip-hop dance gave voices to the restless and tumultuous inner-city youth. Hip-hop’s roots are found in the social fabric of African and Afro-Diasporic concepts of communication that have re-inventions in ragtime, jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, rock ‘n’ roll, funk, and soul which culminated in hip-hop. This course will help you understand hip-hop vocabulary, terminology, and fundamentals as well as gain a contextual and historical overview of hip-hop dance and culture; its recurring cultural modes of discourse and practices woven into black vernacular / social dance, and its intersecting economic, political, and social dynamics of race, gender, sexuality, and class.

In this online course, you will engage in reflection, choreographic explorations, and written dialogue with your classmates to illuminate your personal, social and cultural dynamics of ethnic diversity. Additional course components include reading, video viewing and analysis, and writing assignments that allow you to focus your understanding of hip-hop dance.

Professor Durden will host a live weekly Q&A Zoom discussion with the class on Sunday’s at 5pm EST in lieu of written feedback to each student. He will be on hand to answer your questions and provide additional insight into the weekly topics. These sessions will be recorded for those that cannot attend the Live session.

  • Aug. 7 at 5pm EST - What is Hip-Hop
  • Aug. 14 at 5pm EST - The Influences of Gang Culture in Hip-Hop
  • Aug. 21 at 5pm EST - The Continuum - Authentic/Vernacular Jazz
  • Aug 28 at 5pm EST - Hip-Hop Theory and Practice
  • Sept. 11 at 5pm EST - What I've Learned about Hip-Hop Dance

Due to the unique nature of this course, all students (including those auditing) are encouraged to fully participate in this course as peer-to-peer written feedback is a critical component of the Discussion Board posts. Peer-to peer feedback benefits participants by: 1) enhancing and practicing feedback skills; 2) providing opportunities to share thinking; 3) sharing lesson and curricular planning, and 4) creating networking opportunities and community support.

Book required: Durden, E. Moncell (2018) Beginning Hip Hop Dance: An interactive dance series. Human Kinetics. View book order option here or

Questions about this Course?  Email

Past Student Testimonials

Brand New Course offered for first time in Summer 2022!

Professor Bio
Headshot of OPDI Professor, E. Moncell Durden

E. MONCELL DURDEN is a dance educator, choreographer, ethnographer, embodied historian, author and associate professor of practice at University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman International School of Dance who specializes in pedagogical practices that prove cultural and historical context in what he calls the morphology of Afro-kinetic memory. A highly sought-after instructor, Durden teaches practical and theoretical classes in the U.S. and abroad; an expert in locking, house, hip-hop, authentic jazz, and party dances from 1900 to the present. He has published articles in Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches and the Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America, Rooted Jazz Dance, and the Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Dance.