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Stepping into Tradition

Learn About Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and HBCU Marching Band Danceline!

In the 1940s, a distinctive “HBCU-style” of marching bands originated in the American South through the blending of earlier traditions of military music, minstrel, vaudeville, and carnival shows. HBCU bands have always played a major role in fostering school pride and camaraderie and nothing exemplifies that more than the exquisite marching band dancelines. Celebrating Black culture, pride, and tradition, these all-women dance troupes combine the energy of the high-step marching style of Black college bands with lyrical, West African, jazz, contemporary, and hip-hop choreography. Join UMS artist facilitator, Alexandria Davis, as we learn about the history and importance of HBCUs and marching band danceline. Get ready to strut and show your pride!

To learn more about Marching Band Danceline and HBCUs, explore the accompanying slides and worksheets.

Recommended for

Grades 5-12 (ages 10-17)

Accompanying Presentation

View on Google Slides or download as a PDF

PDF Worksheets

Fill in the Blanks
Interview an Alum
Style to Strut

About the Artist

Alexandria DavisDancer, Teaching Artist, Choreographer, and Screendance maker Alexandria Davis is a 2020 MFA dance graduate of the University of Michigan. Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, Alexandria is an integrated mover trained in liturgical dance, modern (in all its forms and facets), jazz, ballet, pointe & partnering, hip hop, West African, Afro-Caribbean, contemporary, contact improvisation, Laban/Bartenieff fundamentals, Katherine Dunham technique, historically black college, and university auxiliary technique.

Alexandria creates dangerous work, often using her choreography to instigate conversations that challenge tradition and collectivist thinking. Her movement is a manifestation of resilience and years of self-interrogation often presented through the vehicle of a three-dimensional conversation. Her style is driven by triumph and encouraged by rhythm and bass. Alexandria earned her BFA in Dance Performance and Dance in Medicine certification from the University of Florida. Alexandria is a dance activist dedicated to community partnership and performing arts education