The Kennedy Center to Celebrate National Dance Day with Shows, Lessons, Music & More
The Kennedy Center, in partnership with the Dizzy Feet Foundation and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), invites everyone to celebrate the art of dance as it hosts the East Coast's chapter of the annual National Dance Day on Saturday, July 29, 2017, from 2:00 to 10:30 p.m. This free, day-long celebration takes place outside on the Kennedy Center's North Plaza and includes a 6:00 p.m. Millennium Stage performance in the Grand Foyer, which will be streamed live on the Kennedy Center website.
The day also features interactive dance lessons, outdoor performances, live music, and more, including the return of the summer night social Dancing Under the Stars with a beginner-level swing dance lesson by Gottaswing at 7:30 p.m., followed by two hours of dancing with live music from The Tom Cunningham Orchestra. Multi-talented choreographer/teacher and So You Think You Can Dance's Tony Bellissimo will lead patrons in the National Dance Day routine. Choreographer, Director, and Producer Adam Shankman will also join the D.C. festivities. Food and drinks will be available for purchase on site.
This event, which was originally scheduled to take place on the National Mall in conjunction with the National Symphony Orchestra, was moved back to the Kennedy Center after its new music director, Maestro Noseda, was forced to withdraw due to his recent back surgery.
The Kennedy Center partners annually with the Dizzy Feet Foundation, co-founded by Nigel Lythgoe and Adam Shankman, to present the East Coast National Dance Day celebration. YouTube Red, home to upcoming dance drama series Step Up: High Water, joins The Dizzy Feet Foundation and National Dance Day as the 2017 Title Sponsor.
Hosted by WUSA 9's news anchor and multi-Emmy and Gracie Award winner Andrea Roane, National Dance Day features performances and instruction in a wide variety of dance styles by artists including:
- High-intensity dance fitness group Kazaxe
- Local students of the DEA Youth Dance Program, part of the Dizzy Feet Community Partner Program of the DEA Educational Foundation
- High energy steppers from the Howard University Step Team
- Instruction in traditional Chinese dance with the Fairfax Chinese Dance Troupe, a non-profit group dedicated to sharing Chinese art and culture
- Artists of Open Circle Theatre, D.C.'s first professional theater dedicated to producing professional productions that integrate the considerable talents of artists with disabilities
- Renowned D.C.-based dance company Bowen McCauley Dance with a program tailored for persons with Parkinson's Disease and their care-partners
- Culture Shock, a D.C.-based Hip Hop crew
- Bhangra ensemble Top Naach
- Afro-Brazilian rhythms with the all-female band Batalá Washington
- Abada Capoeira DC which promotes the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira
- The Columbia Heights Education Campus drum line (DC)
- The Navy Ceremonial Band and Joint Color Guard
- Eastern High School Marching Band with their dance team, the Lady Gems (DC)
Each year the Dizzy Feet Foundation produces and distributes an instructional video featuring a dance routine for the public to learn in advance of the day's interactive performance. Tony Bellissimo will be onsite, leading the crowd in this year's official routine at the Kennedy Center on July 29. YouTube Red partnered with the Dizzy Feet Foundation to create this year's routine. The 2017 National Dance Day routine is available now on Dizzy Feet Foundation's YouTube Channel, featuring Jade Chynoweth and Carlito Olivero from the new YouTube Red original series Step Up: High Water and choreographed by series choreographer, Jamaica Craft to District 78's "Shake, Wiggle, Move." The public is also encouraged to submit videos of themselves performing this year's routine. In addition to the Kennedy Center, The Music Center in Los Angeles, California joins as an official 2017 host venue for July 29. For more information about National Dance Day, visit the Dizzy Feet Foundation website.
Originally from Buffalo, New York, choreographer and teacher Anthony Bellissimo was trained under mentors Gino and Denise Vaccaro in all genres of dance but gravitated to Hip Hop and funk styles. As a contestant within Season 5 of So You Think You Can Dance, he reached the Top 20 and made his first nationwide appearance. Since then he has worked with some of the top choreographers in LA and biggest artists in the business. His main credits include films Step Up 4 (principal dancer), Rock of Ages, and Step Up 3D, along with Fox's Glee, AT&T Radio Shack commercial, 2010 Nickelodeon's Kids Choice awards, Fresh Beat Band, Billboard Awards (2011), part of the skeleton crew for the Back Street Boys, and most recently La La Land. Has shared the stage with Ne-Yo, Drake, Britney Spears, backed up Austin Brown in Brown's first Music video 85 and was chosen to be one of four guys and eight dancers to join Rihanna on her 2011 Loud Tour.
Launched in 2010 by So You Think You Can Dance co-creator and Dizzy Feet Foundation co-president Nigel Lythgoe, National Dance Day is an annual celebration that takes place on the last Saturday in July. This grassroots campaign encourages Americans to embrace dance as a fun and positive way to maintain good health and combat obesity. National Dance Day achieved national recognition in July 2010, when Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, a longtime proponent of healthy lifestyles, announced that she was introducing a congressional resolution declaring the last Saturday in July to be the country's official National Dance Day.
National Dance Day at the Kennedy Center Schedule:
2:00 - 5:30 p.m.: Dance performances and activities on the North Plaza
6:00 - 7:00 p.m.: Millennium Stage event in the Grand Foyer
7:30 - 10:30 p.m.: Dancing Under the Stars dance lesson with Gottaswing, followed by dancing and live music by The Tom Cunningham Orchestra on the North Plaza.
The Dizzy Feet Foundation was founded in 2009 by producer Nigel Lythgoe and director Adam Shankman, among others, to support, improve, and increase access to dance education in the United States. Guided by a board representing all aspects of the American dance community, the foundation provides scholarships to talented students to support the next generation of professional dancers. The Dizzy Feet Foundation also strives to support, improve, and increase access to dance education through the community dance programs they fund that expose children in low-income areas to the life-long benefits of dance. The Dizzy Feet Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 charitable organization. For more information, go to dizzyfeetfoundation.org.
The Kennedy Center is the only U.S. institution that presents a free performance 365 days a year. Created in 1997 and underwritten by James A. Johnson and Maxine Isaacs, the Millennium Stage features a broad spectrum of performing arts each day at 6 p.m. Brought to the public by Target and The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, the Millennium Stage helps fulfill the Center's mission of making the performing arts accessible to everyone. In the past 20 years, more than 3 million visitors have enjoyed more than 7,000 groups. Through intentionally identifying artistic partners regionally, nationally, and internationally, performances reflect the breadth and depth of culture in society, exploring styles including jazz, ballet, storytelling, popular music, Hip Hop, contemporary dance, opera, choral music, tap dance, theater, chamber music, symphonic music, puppetry, stand-up comedy, and cabaret. Of the many performers that have appeared on the Millennium Stage, approximately 25,000 have been Washington-area artists and more than 6,000 have been international performing artists representing more than 50 countries. The Millennium Stage has also hosted artists representing all 50 states, and has presented more than 15,000 artists in their Kennedy Center debuts. Since 1999, each night's performance has been broadcast live over the internet, and more than 4,430 of these performances have been digitally archived on the Kennedy Center's website, kennedy-center.org.