E. Moncell Durden

E. Moncell Durden, is a dancer, educator, practitioner, historian, ethnographer, author, and documentarian. An assistant professor of practice at the University of Southern California Kaufman International School of Dance, specializing in the pedagogical practices of African American social dance forms over the last four centuries.

Durden’s knowledge and practice of social dances date back to his early childhood learning dances of the early 20th century from his parents and other elders. Durden performed with Rennie Harris Puremovement for 10 years; held a 7 year appointment at Drexel University, a 5 year appointment at Wesleyan University and a 2 year appointment at the Yale School of Drama.


Moncell has taught at the, University of Bogota Colombia, and Balletakademien in Sweden, just to name a few. His published works appear in Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches and SAGE Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America. 

His first book, Beginning Hip-Hop Dance is published by Human Kinetics. His first documentary The History and Concept of Hip-Hop Dance was published by Dance-Time Publication, His documentary appearances include “Transmission” a new documentary on jazz dance, “The Choreography of Comedy” a look at the history and influence of eccentric dance, and Why We Dance a documentary that explores our nature and desires to dance.


Durden’s second documentary will go deeper in the roots of African American dance. He is currently developing a lecture performance, a podcast and writing a new book titled Dancestry: The Dance, the People, and the Culture. Moncell is also writing a new article titled This is How We Jazz for a new jazz book coming out.

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