Zydeco Dance in Houston: Black Cowboys, Trail Rides and Creole Roots | KQED Arts

Houston’s zydeco dance scene brings joy and a driving rhythm to partner dancing, and in this episode, we explore the dance’s deep roots in Creole culture and music. What was called La-la in Southeastern Louisiana Creole communities became known as zydeco in Houston with the influence of R & B and the ‘King of Zydeco’, Clifton Chenier. Houston is where zydeco is thriving, evolving and reaching a broader audience, around trail-riding clubs who dance together after their rides to the accordion-driven sounds of zydeco bands with a touch of hip-hop. As infectious as zydeco is, it’s grown popular worldwide, but what hasn’t changed is how zydeco brings community together in Houston.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This episode was filmed in February, before the coronavirus pandemic swept through cities in the United States. Houston is currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and we hope the community remains safe at home until it’s time to dance together again.

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Our history. Our culture. Our moves.
KQED Arts’ award-winning video series #IfCitiesCouldDance is back for a third season! In each episode, meet dancers from across the country representing their city’s signature moves. Watch a new episode from season three of the video series every other week.

📖 Read the full story here: https://bit.ly/ICCDxHOU
🎶 Listen to our curated playlist: https://bit.ly/ICCDxHOUxMusicPlaylist
🌎 Explore a zydeco map of Houston: https://bit.ly/ICCDxHOUxStoryMap

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👟Featured dancers:
Karina Houston
Cedric “One Step” Jones
Stacie Dancey
Alexis Jolivette
Joseph Norman
Jermar Berry, Jr.
Jeremy Hawkins

🎵Featured music:
Old Time Zydeco by Rusty Metoyer https://rustymetoyer.com/
Ballin’ and It is What is Is by Lil’ Nathan and the Zydeco Big Timers www.nathanwilliamsjr.com
Love in the Barn and Pull it til it Pops by Step Rideau https://www.steprideau.com/
That L’Argent by Chris Ardoin https://www.flattownmusic.com/artist/…
Les Zydecos Sont Pas Salés by Clifton Chenier https://www.downhomemusic.com/product…

🎨Featured murals:
1:40 “Greetings from Houston” by Daniel Anguilu
3:32 “Fruits of the Fifth Ward” by Wheatley High School students (with Reginald Adams, the executive director of the Museum of Cultural Arts Houston (MOCAH), overseeing the project)

🔍Featured archival:
Excerpts from documentary films: “Dry Wood” and “Hot Pepper” ©1973 Les Blank with Maureen Gosling www.lesblank.com

Canray Fontenot and Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival
From the Alan Lomax Collection at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. Used courtesy of the Association for Cultural Equity.

Houston Chronicle
James Fraher photographs, from the books Texas Zydeco
and Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues by Roger Wood, University of Texas

#IfCitiesCouldDance #Zydeco #Creole

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