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Dance as a Universal Language

Darrius Strong's Journey of Movement and Inspiration

I recently had the privilege of chatting with Darrius Strong, the talented choreographer and founder of the Twin Cities-based dance company, STRONGmovement. Darrius, a passionate advocate for the power of dance, shared his journey from being a young boy in Chicago to becoming a renowned movement director making waves in the world of contemporary dance.

Darrius's story began when he moved to Minnesota at the age of seven, seeking new opportunities. After residing in Eagan for a while, he eventually settled in West St. Paul. Despite his initial interest in basketball and a fascination with nursing and medical studies, Darrius found his true calling when he discovered the world of dance.


A Surprising Discovery Becomes a Love for Modern Dance

Inspired by icons like Michael Jackson, Darrius's love for hip-hop led him to audition for the University of Minnesota's dance program. "Fake it until you make it," he joked, reflecting on the challenge of transitioning from hip-hop to modern dance and ballet. Nevertheless, he persevered, taking a five-year break from his beloved hip-hop to explore new avenues. To his surprise, opportunities in dance started flowing his way, and Darrius began to shine as a dancer and a choreographer.

His time with the Black Label Movement, a Minnesota-based dance company known for its physically engaging and emotionally charged performances, allowed Darrius to explore the world of modern dance with an aggressive and athletic approach. “The Black Label Movement particularly influenced me after witnessing their work. Additionally, the artist Bill T. Jones and his piece "Storytime' significantly shaped my perspective on contemporary dance. I had the privilege of experiencing it at the Walker Arts Center in 2013,” he shared.

Through this experience, he discovered his knack for leadership and the joy of creating compelling stories through movement.

But Darrius's passion extends beyond his performances; he dedicates his time to teaching at the St. Paul Conservatory, Eleve Performing Arts Center in Bloomington, and Hothouse Minneapolis. "I like bringing knowledge to others about hip-hop," he shared enthusiastically. His commitment to sharing the therapeutic benefits of movement became evident as he emphasized how dance served as a unique language to work through childhood trauma without words.


See Darrius’s Influence in Alice in Wonderland

As a movement director for the upcoming "Alice in Wonderland" production by the Children's Theatre Company, Darrius is excited to showcase his talents in a different setting. Despite the production not being solely about dance, he highlighted the unique movements required by characters like the caterpillar and the puppet-like Cheshire cat, emphasizing the collaborative efforts of actors in bringing these characters to life through movement.

Darrius's dedication to his craft and the belief in dance as a universal language is evident in every aspect of his work. For those interested in exploring more about Darrius and the STRONGmovement, check out his website at

In Darrius Strong's journey, we find not just a choreographer but a storyteller using movement to unite and enrich our society.


Darrius's passion extends beyond his performances; he (also) dedicates his time to teaching...