90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bringing Back Detroit’s ‘Jit’ Dance

The Jit is a street dance that was developed in Detroit during the 1970s. Haleem Rasul is the founder of HardCore Detroit, a dance troupe, and is keeping the dance's legacy alive in a new documentary. (Courtesy Haleem Rasul)

The Jit is a street dance that was developed in Detroit during the 1970s. Haleem Rasul is the founder of HardCore Detroit, a dance troupe, and is keeping the dance’s legacy alive in a new documentary. (Courtesy Haleem Rasul)

Detroit is known for its auto industry, Motown music and now bankruptcy and vacant buildings — but a group of young dancers wants the city’s legacy also to include a street dance, known as the “Jit” (not to be confused with the swing dance called the jitterbug from the 1930s).

Three brothers started the dance in Detroit in the 1970s, they became known as the “Jitterbugs,” doing flips and kicks alongside each other in coordinated routines.

One of the brothers, Tracey McGhee, told Here & Now’Meghna Chakrabarti that it started as a dance among “gangsters.”

“Back then we were criminals, sometimes we’d get out of the cars and start dancing, then it evolved to basement parties,” he said.

McGhee says he and his brothers eventually became so well known for their “jit” routines, that they got jobs touring with the auto shows, dancing in front of cars to help sell them.

Haleem Rasul, founder of the dance company HardCore Detroit, is making a documentary about the Jit, called “said that Kim Weston, the Motown singer, was a big part of making that happen. McGhee agrees.

“She literally saved our life because she was able to pull us off the streets, put us in the program, Festival of the Performing Arts,” McGhee said. “That’s where we had places to perform, people to perform in front of.”

  • Rasul’s documentary will be released in Detroit on May 23, 2014, at the Detroit Film Theatre in the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum.

Guests


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

Here & Now resident chef and cookbook author Kathy Gunst shares her list of the best cookbooks of the year.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

December 19 Comment

Why El Salvador’s Youth Are Fleeing

David Boeri's report begins in the San Salvador medical examiner's receiving room, where the youth of El Salvador are on display.

December 19 Comment

Artist Andres Serrano On Photographing Cuba

The controversial artist discusses his 2012 trip to his mother's home country and shares his photos.

December 18 Comment

College Counselor: ‘A Deferral Is Not A Denial’

Lisa Micele shares tips for applying to college — especially for students who have been deferred under early decision.

December 18 17 Comments

America’s Political Dynasties

Americans under 38 have only experienced one presidential election that did not involve a Bush or a Clinton.