Including Shayné and Zhané Stanley, aka @naenaetwinsofficial (Alex Cole, courtesy the Stanleys)

4 Black TikTok Dancers You Need to Know

TikTok is famous for turning young talents into household names. The app is also full of black American culture: the music, the movements, the swag. In fact, the creators of two of the most popular dances on the app, "Renegade" and "Savage," are black. Meet four talented black dancers who are using the platform to share their moves with the world­—and, along the way, attracting devoted fans.

Kendra Oyesanya (@MizzKO)


Just when you thought I was savaged out 😂 This ##SavageRemix tho 🔥 ##beyonce ##dance ##savagechallengrDc: @naenaetwins 💕🙌🏾

♬ Savage Remix - Megan Thee Stallion

Kendra Oyesanya is the hip hop dancer we all want to be: musical and dynamic, with the charisma to make the most challenging choreography look easy. She wasn't always so confident, though. "I used to be really hard on myself, and it affected my confidence in a huge way," says the Oklahoma City, OK, native. "But I realized I was the only one holding myself back."

She's since learned to believe in her talent—and, not coincidentally, so do some 340K followers of her TikTok account. Now, she's pledging not to let anything hold her back. "I am not the typical dancer, nor do I look like one," she says, "but that's what makes me unique."

Quickfire Questions

Favorite song to dance to rn: "Cool Off" by Missy Elliot
Favorite TikTok trend: #SavageChallenge
Dancer she looks up to: Chris Grant

Derrell Underwood (@dancemachine45)


Did I hit every beat? ##dance ##hiteverybeat ##foryou ##fyp

♬ Lïl pëêp - peachybbg721

You know the one friend who seems to be good at literally everything? Well, dancing machine Derrell Underwood is the TikTok version of that friend. He's got a killer arsenal of dance moves (a mix of swaggy grooves, intricate arm-ography, and punching Boogaloo poses); his video editing skills­ are impressive; and he even has real acting chops. You could think of him as a Renaissance man in the digital creator world—except he's too humble to admit it. "It's still unbelievable to me how much my fans like my content," Underwood says. "It's them that I love most." Something tells us his more than 700K followers on TikTok would argue the feeling is mutual.

Quickfire Questions

Favorite song to dance to rn: "Drew Barrymore" by Bryce Vine
Favorite TikTok trend: #BoredInTheHouse
Dancer he looks up to: "Honestly, my friend Brian Johnson, whom I've known since 10th grade."

Shayné and Zhané Stanley (@naenaetwinsofficial)


That walk at the end tho 🤩 dc: @mayahdance10 🔥 ##icemeout @kashdoll ##dance ##naenaetwins ##twins ##icemeoutchallenge

♬ original sound - nicolelaeno

There's something truly special about the Stanley twins, Shayné and Zhané. Sure, they can execute choreography at lightning speeds in perfect unison. Sure, they have beautiful extensions on the right AND left sides. And sure, they radiate a positivity that could make even Eeyore break a smile. But what really sets them apart is their versatility, which they attribute to their training. "We started dancing very young with the help of our mother's nonprofit organization," say the 25-year-olds, who live in L.A. "Our mother saw how gifted we were and decided to put us in local classes, where we trained in hip hop, ballet, and jazz."

Once the twins started posting videos of themselves dancing, their fanbase grew, and they've now amassed almost 300K followers on the platform. For these ladies, it's safe to say this is only the beginning.

Quickfire Questions

Favorite song to dance to rn: "Savage Remix" (feat. Beyoncé) by Megan Thee Stallion
Favorite TikTok trend: #PutAFingerDown
Dancer they look up to: "We look up to each other!"

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Since you're missing out on so much, we'd like to give you a virtual ovation, to recognize all you've accomplished. And what's the highest honor we can bestow? The cover of Dance Spirit!

Here's the plan:

  • If you're a high school or college senior dancer, use this form to submit your information and dance portrait.
  • Each day during the month of May, we'll create a digital Dance Spirit cover starring one of you, chosen at random—31 covers in total.
  • At the end of the month, we'll create a "commencement video" featuring even more of your submitted dance photos.
  • 100 of you, selected by lottery, will also receive free one-year subscriptions to the print magazine.

Merde, 2020 graduates, as you dance your way into the future!

High School and College Senior Dancers: Submit Your Photo Here

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