Uprooted: American History Through Jazz Dance

Uprooted: American History Through Jazz Dance KAJA IRWIN, SABRINA COMANESCU, NATASHA KORNEY of DJD. Photo Credits: Vibecke Dahle

The history of jazz dance is the history of America.

That history is not well documented, however, especially when it comes to the leading role played by African Americans.

In Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance, filmmakers Khadifa Wong and Zak Nemorin trace jazz dance back to its roots in Africa, and follow its evolution up to the present.

Along the way Khadifa and Zack address difficult subjects such as appropriation, racism and sexism within this quintessential American art form, and in the process shine a light on this chapter in America’s history.

But in the end, their film is a celebration of this most human of art forms, where as they say, “what all people have in common is rhythm and a basic human need to get down”.

Whether it was jazz, whether it’s hip hop, there are cultures that step out of oppression, and out of wanting to speak out, and jazz dance was just an iteration of that.” – Khadifa Wong

Time Stamps:

1:55 – The film we are talking about today.
3:15 – When and where the film premiered.
4:27 – How Khadifa and Zack are spending their time in London.
6:00 – What is jazz dance?
8:35 – What is social dance?
13:28 – The roots of jazz dance.
15:20 – How this art form got appropriated by Hollywood.
17:29 – The question of ownership of jazz dance and its branches.
23:08 – “Uprooted” as an artistic exploration of American history.
25:24 – How Zack got started with the idea for this project.
31:32 – Tension between schools of dance; the connection between dance and protest.
33:40 – Watching the alternative trailer for the film.
36:24 – Where the future of jazz dance is going.
39:40 – The timeliness of the film in the context of the BLM movement.
44:13 – How Khadifa and Zack got into jazz dance.
50:30 – The perspective that Zack and Khadifa gave to the film as British filmmakers.
53:00 – Famous artists that are featured in the film.
55:20 – Who the director of photography is.
58:50 – The next projects Zack and Khadifa are working on.


Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance (2020)
Follow the film on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
I Am Not Your Negro: Racism In The US
Alamo Pictures
This Is Distorted

Connect With Khadifa Wong:

Connect with Zak Nemorin:

Connect with Factual America:

Connect with Matthew Sherwood:

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Episode 25