Over the years, Black women have stood out in all facets of life: Music, Literature, Business, Sports, Science, Entertainment, Fashion, and DANCE! And in honor of International Women’s month, it is only fitting to celebrate our Black queens.
However, in this article, we will focus on a few famous Black Female dancers out of many who have awed and influenced the world through dance.
Famous Black Female Dancers You Should Know
- Jasmine Harper
Jasmine Harper’s dance journey is nothing short of remarkable. She rose to fame after emerging as runner-up on the hit TV show, So You Think You Can Dance, which put her in the national spotlight for performing with renowned dance companies like the Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She also toured with Beyoncé on the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour.
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Coming from a family of dancers, Jasmine’s passion for dance started early, and she has since developed her skills in various genres like classical ballet, jazz, and contemporary. Her talent and dedication to her craft have also led her to work as a choreographer, creating stunning pieces for dance competitions and shows.
- Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker was a trailblazing black dancer, singer, and actress who broke boundaries in the entertainment industry in the 1920s and 30s. She became a sensation in Paris at 19 with her captivating performances and flamboyant style. With time, she spread her wings across Europe and soon became the first African American woman to star in a major motion picture.
She used her platform to fight for civil rights and refused to perform for segregated audiences in the US. And to this day, she remains an icon, inspiring generations of performers to push the boundaries and follow their dreams.
- Raven Wilkinson
Raven Wilkinson’s dance journey began at age 9 and is an inspiring story of grit and determination. In 1955, she broke the color barrier by signing with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, becoming the first African-American woman to dance for a major classical ballet company.
Wilkinson later mentored Misty Copeland and became the second soloist for the Dutch National Ballet, performing in numerous productions, including The Firebird, Serenade, Mozartiana, Concerto Barocco, Symphony in C, La Valse, The Snow Maiden, and Graduation Ball. And even after her self-imposed retirement in 1974, she was asked to dance for the New York City Opera, where she remained until 2011.
- Kyndall Harris
Despite being young, Harris is making awe-inspiring waves in the dance industry. Her rise to fame began with her impressive performance in the viral Panda dance video with Taylor Hatala. Kyndall gained even more recognition as a contestant on the reality TV show, World of Dance, impressing judges and viewers alike with her exceptional talent.
She has also worked with music icons like Janet Jackson, Chris Brown, and Will Smith and recently participated in Rihanna’s Super Bowl 2023 choreography. And when she is not dancing, Kyndall runs her eponymous dancewear and activewear brand, Kyndall Harris Collection.
- Helen Gedlu
Helen Gedlu found her love for dance at a very young age and gave into it by undergoing training in ballet and tap dance, and eventually embraced her true passion in modern dance. Today, the Ethiopian-born dancer has become a sensation in the entertainment world.
Her talent has taken her to prestigious venues such as the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center, and she has performed alongside famous artists, including Beyonce and Kanye West. Gedlu has also collaborated with jazz pianist Jason Moran and visual artist Rasha Pridgen and performed a dance scene in Empire Season 2.
- Luam Keflezgy
Luam is a dancer, choreographer, and creative director whose unique style, which combines elements of hip-hop, jazz, and African dance, has earned her a reputation for dynamic and intricate choreography. Her works have been showcased on the BET Awards Prince tribute, Black Girls Rock 2016, The Today Show, and Good Morning America.
Over the years, Luam has collaborated with numerous musical icons such as Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Kanye West, and Kelly Rowland, and has served as creative director for several major tours, music videos, award shows, and live performances.
Numerous famous Black female dancers have made significant contributions to the industry, including Candace Brown, Janet Collins, Fatima Robinson, Lauren Anderson, Jamaica Craft, Alicia Mack Graf, Desiree Dixon, Kimmie G, Tasha B, and many others. This list only scratches the surface of their legacies and ongoing impact.
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