As many of you may know, the hit TV show So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) is hosting the second annual National Dance Day tomorrow, July 30. Last year, National Dance Day received thousands of video submissions from all over the country showing people performing the official “national dance” choreography by Napoleon and Tabitha D’Umo. Unfortunately, the choreography was difficult enough that many dance fanatics were unable to participate due to physical limitations. In my opinion, this was definitely a PR fail on their part, especially because Dance 4 Your Life, the organization that established this event, began as a national initiative to “promote dance as a part of an active, healthy lifestyle.” This idea doesn’t really make sense when there are thousands of people who are not able to participate!
At the beginning of last years video, the choreographers claim the movement to be “easy enough for anyone to get up off the couch, join in, and learn it” but soon after that they break into eight sections that include jumping jacks and a butt-kicking move. Fortunately for those with disabilities that make these movements difficult, this year the event is really making an effort to provide choreography that is accessible to everyone.
This year, Dance 4 Your Life has provided three levels of choreography so that National Dance Day can be accessible to people of all ages and dance backgrounds. Napoleon and Tabitha teach the master level class, Robin Antin teaches the intermediate intensive, and Mary Murphy teaches the everybody dance choreography. What really sets the 2011 dance day apart from the 2010 event is that there is a dancer in a wheelchair participating in the “everybody dance” section. In the video, the dancer shows the audience how to adjust the movement based on physical limitations. She performs alongside seasoned veteran Mary Murphy with passion and gusto.
Personally, I have a few qualms with the fact that only popular dance such as hip hop and salsa will be a part of this event. However, I do think that it is extremely positive to let everyone know that they can dance no matter what. This season, SYTYCD has done a great job at showing the world some of the amazing things that people can do despite physical limitations. If you haven’t yet, be sure and watch the video of AXIS Dance Company (pictured above) performing on the show this season.
Also, check out the video below of Mary Murphy’s everybody dance choreography: