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National Dance Day celebration on the National Mall

August 2, 2010

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the National Dance Day event on the National Mall, presented by So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton of DC. (My Congresswoman! Who still can’t vote, but does great work anyway.) Norton introduced a resolution in Congress declaring July 31st officially National Dance Day and presented Nigel with a plaque of thanks from Congress for increasing awareness of dance as an important fitness activity.

Highlights for me included simply seeing some celebrities from the worlds of dance, politics and fitness, including:

  • Nigel Lythgoe himself, Executive Producer and Judge on SYTYCD
  • Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
  • Dominique Dawes, Gold medal gymnast from the 1996 women’s Olympic gymnastics team in Atlanta (one of my favorite group of athletes of all time, right up there with the 1995 World Champion Atlanta Braves), Currently Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Fitness
  • Russell Ferguson, Season 6 winner of SYTYCD

The event organizers gathered together an incredible variety of local dance talent who performed an amazing array of dance styles, including contemporary, hip-hop, tap, swing, DC hand dancing (official dance of the District of Columbia), Zumba, Irish dancing, African dancing, ballroom, and flamenco.

No dance day event would be complete without enthusiastic crowd participation. Russell, Congresswoman Norton and friends led the crowd in the Electric Slide, and Step Afrika! led the crowd in some basic stepping and call and response. The diverse crowd, from toddlers to seniors, danced along with some of the hip-hop songs and fitness dance routines. And of course, there was the Tabitha and Napoleon Hip-hop choreography many of us had learned. We reviewed the choreography extensively before the show began, and all participants were pumped to present it for the cameras. Watch SYTYCD on Fox this week for clips! (The crowd choreography was one thing I didn’t capture with my camera – I was too busy dancing!)

What was also really fun to see, besides the pure joy of the crowd in dancing, participating in the show and watching the dancing, was the pure joy and enthusiasm of Mr. Nigel Lythgoe. Being British and tie-clad, in his seriousness on TV, what doesn’t always come across clearly is how much this man truly loves dancing. You could see in his face, his smile, his playful dancing at the beginning of the show how truly happy and inspired he was to share his love of dancing with the gathered crowd and folks across the country.

As the show wrapped up, many participants continued to dance for the cameras. I followed Nigel and Russell with my camera, getting a few paparazzi shots of the dance celebs. Russell was sweet enough to pause for photos with fans!

I love the show So You Think You Can Dance because I love dance. I was thrilled to be a part of the (hopefully, first annual) National Dance Day celebration. A couple friends and I kept the party going at a cookout hosted by my roommate at our house. As was fitting for National Dance Day, the cookout wrapped up with a small impromptu living room dance party.

Keep on dancing! I know I will. And please check out my photos from National Dance Day on Flickr!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. JBC permalink
    August 7, 2010 12:08 am

    Excellent coverage of an exciting event! Hope you continue to blog about dance!

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