Many popular dances of the western hemisphere owe their birth to creative and talented people of African origin. As early as the 18th century, dances such as the Pigeon Walk, Buck, Tap, Frog, Ring Shout, Cake Walk, Charleston, Black Bottom and others, up to and including Swing Dance/Lindy Hop, have been a part of the American lexicon. These dances are collectively known as vernacular dance. Due to many social, economic, and political influences over the last few decades, the African American cultural connection to these art forms has been virtually lost or forgotten
We are The Central Avenue Dance Ensemble. We take our name from the historic community which was the center of Black business, culture and entertainment in Los Angeles for the first half of the 20th century.
The goal of our dance company is to reintroduce people—most especially the African American community—to American vernacular dance history in an effort to build awareness and appreciation of this art form by presenting an experience through dance which relates the birth of this country’s dance culture that emerged from plantation spirituals to Le Jazz Hot, Charleston, the Swing years of Jitterbug and today's Hip Hop, and which covers the historical period from slavery through the Modern era.
These are dances which are virtually never represented by contemporary dance companies. While these are our original American dances, neither the dances, nor their histories, are taught in our public schools, colleges or universities. It is our hope to keep this dance history alive by presenting it to the American public as entertainment.