Moncell Durden

Associate Professor of Practice

Hip-Hop, Jazz, Improvisation

Moncell Durden was a member of Brooklyn hip hop pioneering group Mop-Top and spent 10 years performing with Philadelphia Hip Hop company Rennie Harris Puremovement. A dancer/educator, ethnochoreologist, documentarian, embodied historian, author and Associate Professor of practice at the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Moncell specializes in pedagogical practices that prove cultural and historical context in what he calls the morphology of Afro-kinetic memory. Moncell teaches practical and theoretical classes in the U.S. and abroad; an expert in locking, house, hip-hop, authentic jazz, and American and European social dances from 1800 to the present. His book Beginning Hip Hop Dance was published by Human Kinetics, other articles appear in Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches, the Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America, Rooted Jazz Dance, and the Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Dance. He has consulted on the Baz Luhrmann film “Elvis”, Disney+ “The World According to Jeff Goldblum,” TV show “The Porter” and for Camille Brown’s “Mr, Tol E. RAncE,” & TED ED “The History of African American Social Dance,” Denzel Washington film “Ma Rainey” and new Broadway production “The Hippest Trip.” Moncell also appears in a number of documentaries, Uprooted: A story of the journey of jazz dance, WACO “The Evolution of African Dance,” and “Why Do We Dance” produced by sky studios in the U.K. to name a few. His own documentary “Everything Remains Raw: A Historical Perspective of Hip Hop Dance, is available on Youtube. Moncell is currently working on a new textbook covering African American Social Dance.