Thousands of people gathered on the South Plaza of the John F. Kennedy Center on July 27th for one reason: to dance. That is because this past Saturday marked the fourth annual “National Dance Day.”
Launched in 2010 by So You Think You Can Dance co-creator and Dizzy Feet Foundation co-creator Nigel Lythgoe, National Dance Day encourages people across the nation to maintain good health and combat obesity as well as celebrate dance.
While the campaign had been gaining momentum around the country, it reached national recognition in July 2010 when Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton declared the last Saturday in July as the official National Dance Day.
Since then, National Dance Day has really taken off, sparking celebrations all over the country, from people’s backyards to dance studios to the largest celebrations held in Los Angeles and Washington DC.
This year’s DC event started at 1:00 pm on the South Plaza of the Kennedy Center and continued into the Grand Foyer at 6:00 pm before returning to the South Plaza until 11:30 pm. People came from all over to watch performances, but to also learn different dance styles. Smooth & EZ taught attendees the Hand Dance, Donya Dance led the crowd in Bollywood, and even 2008 So You Think You Can Dance winner, Joshua Allen came out to teach special routines.
Every year in the month leading up to National Dance Day, Dizzy Feet Foundation releases instructional dance videos online, which allows people to learn and perform special dances for National Dance Day.
This year, Dizzy Feet co-presidents Nigel Lythgoe and Adam Shankman choreographed an “Everybody Dance” routine to Bruno Mars’ “Treasure,” while a “Hip-Hop Master Class” routine to Jennifer Lopez’s “Live It Up” was created by So You Think You Can Dance choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo for those dancers who wanted more of a challenge.
Joshua Allen taught these dances to the huge crowd at DC’s celebration, and it was quite a spectacle to see thousands of people celebrating dance with one huge dance number.