In the video we see the Juba, which enslaved Africans used to communicate on plantations when slave owners banned drumming. We see the Cakewalk, which subversively poked fun at the snooty mannerisms of Southern aristocrats. We see the Twist, whose crossover appeal gave people of all colors a common dance language just before the Civil Rights Movement. And we see the Cabbage Patch, and the Running Man, and the Dougie, and the Nae Nae, which take on a new significance within the larger context.
(Screenshot via ted.com)
It's beautiful, it's joyful, it's fascinating—and it's critically important. Because in these dances, as Brown says, "we see over 200 years of how African and African-American traditions influenced our history. The present always contains the past. And the past shapes who we are and who we will be."