PDFF 2021 : Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance

PDFF 2021 : Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance


Khadifa Wong

About the Director

Khadifa Wong is an award-winning Director. She trained at the iconic London Studio Centre in all aspects of dance. After 10 years as a Dancer she moved to New York to further study acting.

On her return to London, frustrated by the lack of opportunities for actresses of colour, Khadifa wrote, produced and acted in a web series based on her New York experiences. It was then that Khadifa realised her true passion lay behind the camera and she formed her production company to help increase diversity on both sides of the camera. Since then, Khadifa has Directed, The Woman Who Knocked On My Door (Best Indie Short, LA Film Awards) with Finelight Films and executive produced a further 3 multi award winning short films. In 2019 Khadifa directed Black Women Dating White Men Written by Somebody Jones at the Drayton Arms Theatre. Uprooted will be her feature-length film directorial debut.

Directors Statement

A Dance piece or trend is so often a reflection of our society, but jazz dance for me is an example of how our society should be, in a constant state of free evolution that welcomes new practitioners regardless of class, colour or gender.

The film aims to not only educate people about jazz dance's lineage and history but also to inspire the dancer of tomorrow to keep this art form alive.

As an art form rooted in slavery it has been interesting to chart its journey and see how it has been modified, what worries me is that because of its roots, the respect from the artistic community is not as reverent as it should be, where is the funding? Where are the world touring companies? Where is the resistance? Right now we are having to show the world Black lives matter, here is one example of why. Jazz, we gave that to the world and I want to create a film to celebrate that fact.

We tried to visually capture dance from a dancers point of view, we infused the film with rhythm as almost everyone we interviewed said the music was integral to them and as you will see it unites so many different people. Rhythm was at the heart of the film’s look and feel because it is rhythm that unites us as humans.

I wanted to create a film that will shine a light on this art form, we have a lot of contributors because jazz has evolved into such a diverse art form. The filmmakers came from various dance backgrounds so we wanted to highlight as many of them as we could. They all deserve to have a platform. We then set those observations and experiences to a linear examination of American history, focusing on the black experience and the presence of the European influence.

I can't think of a better way to usher in the second century of this art form than with a film made by people that love jazz dance and believe it matters as much as life.

uprooted poster
Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance
Khadifa Wong
United States
94 minutes

The story of Jazz Dance is a complex one, it goes to the very heart of humanity. It is a story of triumph over adversity, oppression and privilege as well as a celebration, because ultimately, what all people have in common is rhythm and a basic human need to get down.

The film includes many experts including Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Olivier Award winners: Debbie Allen, Susan Stroman, George Faison, Andy Blankbuehler, Al Blackstone, Mandy Moore, Josh Bergasse, Chita Rivera, Graciela Daniele....

Special Admission