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Series 45: Let's Talk Hand Dance, 2021

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc045

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

D.C. Oral History Collaborative (DCOHC) is a citywide initiative to train community members in oral history skills, fund new and ongoing oral history projects, connect volunteers with oral history projects, and publicize existing oral history collections. DCOHC is a project of DC Public Library, HumanitiesDC, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. This collection contains oral history interviews, transcripts, and indexes produced by DCOHC grantees.


  • Creation: 2021


From the Collection: 1.13 Terabytes

Language of Materials



'Let's Talk Hand Dance' are oral history interviews that capture the evolution of hand dance, the Official Dance of the District of Columbia. Hand Dance has been part of the social fabric of D.C. since the 1950s. Hand Dance is a contemporary swing-style dance indigenous to the communities of D.C. Over the generations, the dance has evolved from the fast-paced rhythms of the big band sounds of the 1950s, to the smooth dance patterns of the 1960s (now called 'old school'), and finally into the contemporary style of hand dance (also called 'new school'). The National Hand Dance Association's mission is to preserve, educate, and promote the art form of Hand Dance. This project contains interviews with knowledgeable people from the Hand Dance community on the important subjects of 1) D.C. Hand Dance nightlife, 2) the evolution of Hand Dance through instruction, 3) Hand Dance DJs, 4) Hand Dance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 5) the rising role of women in Hand Dance.

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001