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Classical 101

Get Up and Get Moving on National Dance Day

Dizzy Feet Foundation
National Dance Day encourages everyone to get up and move

Saturday, July 30th, is National Dance Day.  It's the brainchild of producer Nigel Lythgoe and director Adam Shankman, among others, to support, improve and increase access to dance education in the United States.  National Dance Day was launched in 2010 by Lythgoe, who is co-creator of the television competition So You Think You Can Dance, and co-president of the Dizzy Feet Foundation, which he co-founded with Shankman in 2009.  

In honor of National Dance Day, Classical 101 has dance music to help get you moving this Saturday from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Be sure to join me for 5 hours of great music to get you in the dance spirit!  Whether a waltz, tango, reel, or hoedown is your thing, we'll have something for everyone.

You can be part of the National Dance Day festivities by yourself, with friends, or by organizing something bigger, like a National Dance Day Flashmob.  Here's what one group did a couple of years ago in Greensboro NC.  They're busy arranging another one for this weekend.


So You Think You Can Dance has launched a number of successful careers.  Four of the SYTYCD All-Stars

demonstrate the "official" 2016 routine below.


You can register your event, just get together with a few friends, or do it on your own.  They encourage you to upload a video of whatever you do here by August 5th, 2016, before 5:oopm Pacific Time.

Much like Astor Piazzolla took tango from the street to the stage, Charles "Lil Buck" Riley has been instrumental in bringing many dance styles usually associated with the street into the theatre.  He is a dancer based in LA (and a one-time judge on So You Thing You Can Dance) whose specialty is known as "jookin." Jacob Brown, in an article about Riley for Vogue Magazine, described it this way:

Jookin is a native Memphis genre comprised of a jerky gait called a gangsta walk, mixed with various elements of other street styles from liquid to break.

The melding of styles had it's roots in Memphis, where Riley's older sister introduced him to jookin.  Other pastimes fell by the wayside and he would eventually spend two years studying ballet at the New Ballet Ensemble in Memphis.  

A few years ago, Lil Buck joined forces with Yo Yo Ma to show just how easily  different styles and disciplines can blend.  The two artists performed for a small gathering at what appears to be a reception.  Ma played The Dying Swan while Lil Buck did what you might term a street interpretation of the classic ballet favorite.  Spike Jonze, an American director and producer - among many other things - recorded the performance with his cell phone.  It quickly went viral.

Within a few months, they were performing a highly polished version at the Vail International Dance Festival in Colorado.


All of this goes to show that you can participate in the arts in many different ways at many different levels.  Whether it's strictly for your own enjoyment, in a performance for others, or introducing someone else to music and dance, it can have a profound effect.