Happy Belated National Dance Day!

Posted August 2nd, 2010 by layla

The United States’ first National Dance Day, which was started by Nigel Lythgoe of SYTYCD fame as a grass roots movement, took place this past weekend, and was recognized by an official act of Congress!

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a long-time proponent of healthy lifestyles, introduced a National Dance Day resolution at a press conference on Saturday, July 31st, 2010 in Washington, D.C.

In January, Congresswoman Norton introduced the Lifelong Improvements in Food and Exercise (LIFE) Act to promote exercise and diet changes. Norton’s LIFE bill directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be a lead agency in combating obesity and sedentary lifestyles.

“More than 30 percent of Americans are obese, and childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years,” said Norton. “Television shows such as So You Think You Can Dance are not only entertaining but are also encouraging people to live a physically active lifestyle. Holding a National Dance Day in the nation’s capital is a terrific way to promote fitness and fight obesity.”

“National Dance Day does not ‘belong’ to any single corporation, television show or charity,” said Lythgoe. “It belongs to the people. It will be up to the individuals, corporations and charities of this country to come up with ways to take part – wherever they may be and whatever their motivation: whether it’s to lose weight, raise money for a nonprofit or just have fun. It is my hope that countless exciting dance ideas will come to fruition on National Dance Day, like the world’s longest conga line in Miami or the world’s longest kick line in front of Radio City Music Hall or scores of breakdancers taking over the Venice boardwalk. The sky is the limit.”

I think it’s wonderful that dance is now seeing such a resurgence in popularity! With TV shows like SYTYCD, and Dancing with the Stars bringing dance more into the mainstream, and having paved the way for the recent surge of dance-centric movies (like Mao’s Last Dancer) and the new Hulu web-series ”The LXD,” dance is finally getting the public appreciation that it deserves here in the United States. Dancers have historically been underpaid, and as a profession, dance has been under-appreciated, with many parents not considering it as a viable career path for their children, and few public schools offering dance classes. Hopefully with this new level of popular recognition and appreciation, the propensity to see dance as a starving-artist profession will wither away, and people like myself who have an innate passion for dance will be more likely to be encouraged to pursue it with all our hearts rather than told to find a more “sensible” (read: profitable) profession!

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