Assistant Professor of Practice
Hip-Hop, Jazz, Improvisation
E. Moncell Durden is a dance educator, choreographer, ethnographer, embodied historian and author who specializes in pedagogical practices that prove cultural and historical context in Afro-Diasporic social dance formations. A highly sought after instructor, Durden teaches practical and theoretical classes in the U.S. and abroad and is an expert in locking, house, hip-hop, authentic jazz, and party dances from 1900 to the present.
He is a member of Mop Top Crew, the pioneering NYC hip-hop dance group, and Rennie Harris Puremovement, the Philadelphia-based hip-hop theater company. Before joining the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance faculty, Durden taught for seven years at Drexel University. He currently holds appointments at the Yale School of Drama, Wesleyan University, and Bennington College. He has published articles in Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches and the Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America, is currently writing an article for the Oxford Handbook of Hip-Hop Dance, and is developing a documentary on the genealogy of hip-hop dance. This groundbreaking documentary, Everything Remains Raw: Hip-Hop Dance in Context, was invited by the U.S. Embassy in Vladivostok, Russia as a work in progress to screen at their 2013 film festival. In 2010, Durden founded Intangible Roots, an organization dedicated to the education and preservation of Afro-Diasporic social dance formations.