Peak Time

The New Dance Show

120 minsFirst aired 20 May 2019
Courtesy of LaWanda Gray

Live from Detroit: A flashback to the city’s legendary techno-rap dance show of the ’80s and ’90s with host RJ Watkins, Lawanda and more.

Today kicks off a special week of Peak Time live from Detroit, Michigan in the lead up to Movement Festival, and featuring all Motor City-based guests. On today’s show, we’re going back into time to talk about The New Dance Show, a highly influential local dance show that ran from 1988 to 1995 on WGPR-TV 62 (the first US TV station entirely black-owned and operated). If you tuned in back then between 6P and 7P you could catch a selection of the Motor City’s best dancers, coolest dressers, wildest rump-shakers and unforgettable characters getting down to the dance music of the day. In the vein of Soul Train and its more disco-oriented predecessor The Scene, The New Dance Show introduced several generations of Detroiters to the local underground’s rapidly changing musical palette, evolving from funk and disco into the first strains of Miami bass, new wave and then techno and electro. The show has been so hugely influential it has been referenced in music and videos from Black Milk, Hercules & Love Affair, Moodymann and Osborne, and archival YouTube clips continue to stun anyone who can’t imagine high-speed Jodeci and 2 Live Crew being mixed back to back with Cybotron and Aux 88. On today’s show, we invite host RJ Watkins and popular dancer Lawanda Grey on a trip down memory lane with us, revisiting the songs and stories of The New Dance Show.


Engineered by Ryan Woodhall
Produced by Sara Casella

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