Cultural Traditions Program Faculty
2012 School Programs
Moncell "ill Kozby" Durden is a Philadelphia-based choreographer, dancer,educator and dance historian. Michael Jackson, the Lockers, early 20th century musical films, and Mop-Top Crew, a pioneering dance ensemble from New York City, all inspired him in 1988 to embark on a career as a professional dancer. A local talent in his native town Harrisburg, PA, Durden opened up for and performed with acts like Surface, Sweet T., Kid n' Play, Kwame', MC Hammer and several other acts that came through the city. These performances eventually offered him the opportunity to tour nationally and internationally. In 1992, he met Buddha Stretch of Mop-Top Crew, who became a key figure in Durden's professional development. In 1998, Durden accepted Stretch's open invitation to become a member of Mop-Top. Since then, he has also trained and performed with members of the Lockers, the Electric Boogaloos and Rennie Harris Puremovement. During this time, Durden began his study of Black "street" dance forms and, in the process, consumed volumes of scholarly and popular literature in relation to African-American vernacular dance forms, in particular, and general dance studies. Until recently, he was a senior lecturer of hip-hop dance and culture at University of the Arts in Philadelphia and has lectured and taught master classes and workshops at Princeton, Yale, UCLA, University of Buffalo, Wesleyan University, William Patterson and several other universities and high schools in the United States, Asia, Europe and South America. As adjunct professor, he has taught at Drexel University for the past six years and has plans to return to school some day with a goal of earning a PhD. Currently, Durden is filming a documentary about the deep-rooted structure and African retention present in dance practices throughout the African Diaspora. This film investigates and re-presents hip-hop's lineage. It also highlights an assortment of influential Black cultural phenomena that helped construct and characterize the movement practices demonstrated in African-American culture. Durden is president and founder of Dance Educators of Funk and Hip Hop (DEFHH), an organization that facilitates workshops for dance educators, dancers and dance historians concerning an array of topics related to Afro-Diasporic/African-American vernacular dance forms. This will be Durden's first season teaching at The School at Jacob's Pillow, though previously he taught for the Pillow's Community Dance Program as a company member of Rennie Harris Puremovement.