HARLEM, Manhattan — Dance has been at the heart of the culture uptown dating all the way back to the Harlem Renaissance.
Starting in the 1920s on Lenox Avenue, The Savoy Ballroom was more than just a place to party.
“You had to have on a suit. You had to have on a tie,” explained Lindy Hop dancer Brian Davis.
Everyone was welcome at the Savoy Ballroom, as long as you could dance.
“They had a no discrimination policy,” said dancer Julia Loving.
Several styles of street dance from Happy Feet to the Lindy Hop started on the streets of Harlem and were refined at the Savoy and later shined in Hollywood.
“Lindy Hop began to travel all over the world," Davis explained.
The Savoy Ballroom closed their doors in the 1950s. A decade later a new chapter of dance uptown was born.
“Arthur Mitchell provided a space for dancers of color that, back in the 60s, was unheard of: doing classical ballet,” said Donald Williams.
Mitchell started the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Fifty years later the company continues to nurture dancers uptown and “keep moving forward with eyes on the past as well,” Williams told PIX11.
Harlem remains on the cutting edge of dance trends. Chrybaby Cozie is one of the creators of lite feet.
Chrybaby Cozie described the style saying “what makes lite feet unique is the energy.”
There is a new generation of lite feet dancers including Kid Break and 9-year-old Taylah.