'Uprooted': The film that reclaims the true history of jazz dance

ENCORE! © France 24

When we think of jazz dance - we may think of Broadway, the West End, Liza Minelli or West Side Story. The illuminating film “Uprooted” takes us way further back to the roots of this dance of African descent, born out of slavery and entangled with the African American experience through hip hop and beyond.


Dancer-turned-director Khadifa Wong speaks to Eve Jackson about the importance of knowing where an art form comes from. African Americans like Pepsi Bethel and Jojo Smith - who was John Travolta's dance consultant on Saturday Night Fever - have both made enormous contributions to jazz dance but are often overlooked in favor of white choreographers such as Bob Fosse and Jack Cole. It raises interesting questions about ownership and cultural appropriation.

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