Black Dance Stories Teams Up With Amistad Research Center

June 21, 2022

Web series Black Dance Stories and Amistad Research Center, one of the nation’s largest independent African-diaspora archives, have entered into a preservational partnership.

Conceived of and co-created by Charmaine Warren in response to the confluence of the pandemic, social isolation and Black Lives Matter activism in summer 2020, Black Dance Stories streamed 48 episodes, each featuring two Black performance artists in conversation, on YouTube between June 2020 and November 2021. Amistad Research Center, housed on the Tulane University campus in New Orleans, commenced a visual archiving process of those virtual conversations in February. This collaboration not only embeds Black Dance Stories in historical archives; it will also ensure increased accessibility to learners around the world, both now and into the future. 

Although its virtual programming concluded­ thanks to easing COVID-19 restrictions, the Black Dance Stories team has continued responding to the ongoing necessity to create spaces for Black artists, with a young professionals’ platform, the Black Dance Stories Backstage Talk podcast and live performance gatherings at 651 Arts. The collective also initiated an oral history project in partnership with DanceAfrica and the Brooklyn Academy of Music Hamm Archives, recording personal narratives from the festival’s Council of Elders. “Black Dance Stories has taken on a life of its own,” says Warren. “It started when we needed community at home, and where it goes next, we don’t know. One thing is for sure—it is needed.”