September 17 is National Dance Day! We brought the music, you bring the moves! Or, feel free to bring your own tunes. We’re not too particular on the music choice or who brings the beats. We really just can’t wait to see you on the floor! If you have a favorite dance move or go-to routine, this is the time for all to break it down on the dance floor.
History of National Dance Day
This groovy day was created to help encourage Americans to enjoy the art of movement, as a creative outlet to promote a healthy lifestyle. Hitting the dance floor is not only an artistic outlet, but helps to improve muscle tone, bone density, balance, flexibility, and strength. It was officially launched in 2010, by national dance fans — both politicos and dance extraordinaires. Up until 2019, the day was observed in July; however, 2020 will be the second time that it will be officially observed on the third Saturday in September.
Nigel Lythgoe, co-creator of “So You Think You Can Dance” and the co-founder of American Dance Movement, partnered with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to start this holiday 10 years ago. Congresswoman Norton introduced National Dance Day as a resolution, with the goal of promoting artistic expression and exercise.
Dance is also a great way to improve both emotional and mental health as well. Staying active on a consistent basis is a great way to release tension, stress, build muscle, and be in an all-around better mood. Every aspect of our health is interconnected. Health is wealth, and we all need that currency.
This fun-filled day of movement was moved from July to September because of an essential collaboration with the American Heart Association. The Association approached the National Dance Day team because they sought new dance material and video content for their kids’ health initiative, the Kids’ Heart Challenge. Given in part because of the school-affiliated nature of the partnership, the date for National Dance Day moved from the summer months to early fall during the academic year in 2019.
National Dance Day timeline
One of the most popular forms of dance, the waltz, was introduced.
This was a big decade for the introduction of well-known dances, including the Charleston (1922) and the Black Bottom (1926-1927).
National Dance Day was started by Nigel Lythgoe and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton as a means to promote a healthy lifestyle.
National Dance Day moves from July to September so as to be more aligned with the academic year and student-based partnerships. As of 2019, National Dance Day takes place on the third Saturday of September.
National Dance Day FAQs
Do I have to spend money to participate in events or classes on National Dance Day?
We can’t say definitively for sure, as it depends on the event. Some cities offer free classes and performances, while others may suggest or require a fee to participate. Be sure to research ahead of time before moving on in any activity.
Can I create my own National Dance Day celebration?
Absolutely — if ever there were a day to personalize a celebration, this would be a holiday we strongly suggest doing so! Be it your own class, performance, or party – you name it. If it fits in the theme of movement, then it sounds like the type of celebration to which we want to be invited.
Is there an official way to commemorate the day?
There is indeed an annual routine choreographed to celebrate National Dance Day. We’d encourage you to consider finding the official routine online; be sure to watch to learn it, and perhaps consider posting any videos you can showing your moves to the beat with hashtags or more.
National Dance Day Activities
Take a class
Some cities hold day-long dance series for National Dance Day! Check out listings in your local community to see if there are local venues holding dance classes throughout all or part of the day. If so, we strongly encourage you to go out and get your groove on! Be it a tap, hip-hop, ballet, step class or more...this is the day of all days to take a class and get moving.
Check out a dance performance
Perhaps you’d prefer to be an audience member. Taking in a dance performance on National Dance Day is a perfect way to celebrate the day!
Donate to a local dance organization
Investing in a local or national dance organization is a great way to honor the day. Making a donation to a dance troupe or company of your choices is yet another way to encourage participation in dance expression and movement on National Dance Day.
5 Facts About Dance That Will Blow Your Mind
Over 1500 celebrations
To date, over 1500 cities and communities celebrate National Dance Day in some form.
National Dance Day vs. International Dance Day
International Dance Day is celebrated annually every April 29 to promote culture and the arts, as well as to raise international awareness of dance as an artform.
More than movement
The 2019 shift to acknowledging National Dance Day in September is also about aligning with the American Dance Movement’s mission to highlight cardiovascular health, boost overall self-confidence, improve self-confidence, and encourage all to have fun.
In Canada, National Dance Day is celebrated during UNESCO’s International Dance Day, which is in late April every year.
Different ways to celebrate
National Dance Day can be celebrated in many forms in September, and there are many ways to get involved, either in person, virtually or philanthropically!
Why We Love National Dance Day
You invest in your health
It’s always good to employ strategies to live a healthier life. Exercise improves every aspect of your health, and dance is a great way to work towards making that happen.
There is no shortage of ways to participate in National Dance Day
Don’t like hitting the dance floor yourself? No problem — you can watch a class, go to a dance party and watch as a wallflower, catch a show, watch a dance movie and more.
There’s space for everyone
Whether you are 2 or 102, there is absolutely a way for you to get involved in National Dance Day. Everyone can be healthy, everyone can move, and we can all be a part of this fun-filled holiday.
National Dance Day dates