Frankie Lee Peterson III didn’t grow up in Oakland, but his adopted town’s artistic and activist spirit is in his bones. The professional dancer and educator paid tribute to the city by dancing throughout its streets and beside its landmarks in the latest video in the If Cities Could Dance series. KQED Arts released Peterson’s episode yesterday (May 29).
“I’m learning about the Great Migration and Oakland’s history, and it was a more artistic foundation for the African-American communities and all types of people—fighting for each other,” the North Carolina native explained over the image of him dancing near the Remember Them: Champions for Humanity monument, which honors racial justice leaders like Coretta Scott King and Fred Korematsu.
Peterson discusses childhood trauma, healing through dance and his views on Oakland while he interacts with other public landmarks. One scene features him in front of the Oakland Superheroes Mural, which was created by and depicts Oakland’s children of color.
If Cities Could Dance profiles dancers, all from marginalized groups, as they move through their city and talk about their own relationships with its art and communities. Previous episodes featured Baltimore club dance, strutting and popping in San Jose and New Orleans second line.