If you consider yourself a bad dancer, this weekend is your chance to change that.
Saturday is National Dance Day, created to encourage Americans to embrace dance as a fun way to maintain good health. Given national recognition in 2010 by U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., the day is usually marked by dancers’ impressive Instagram posts and public community dance events.
California National Day of Dance will begin with a class on the state Capitol’s steps, where dancers and non-dancers alike can learn a short dance routine. According to organizer Tamaira Sandifer, the routine will be just right – not too complex, but “not too boring.” Sandifer is founder of the T Urban Dance Academy
Pop-up dance classes will be taught during the day at several Sacramento locations including the Crocker Art Museum and the Oak Park Community Center. Rancho Cordova and Folsom are among the suburban sites.
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The dance styles include beginner level ballet, hip-hop, and Bollywood dance.
“We have pop-ups in the community so that people have access to the event whether they have transportation or not,” Sandifer said. “We wanted to reach out and impact (people) that didn't have the ability to get to the Capitol.”
Sandifer hopes to promote not only the health benefits of dance, but also the social ones.
“We find that a lot of our young people are disconnected because of their phones or their electronic devices ... so we're really looking to inspire live and in-person connectivity,” she said.
The day ends with a benefit concert that includes performers such as Sacramento native Leon Kida Burns (also known as Kida the Great, 2016 winner of “So You Think You Can Dance: Next Generation”), students from local dance studios, and the Capital Dance Project, an independent collective of professional dancers committed to making dance accessible to everyone.
Proceeds from the benefit concert will go toward the Arts for All Foundation, which provides arts educators an opportunity to teach in arts-starved communities.
Sandifers sees a lack of dance education in areas such as south Sacramento, North Highlands, the Antelope area, Rio Linda, Woodland, and Yuba City.
“We have a few concentrated efforts in south Sacramento and we also work with housing developments … and any community that has a Title I school,” Sandifer said. Such school likely have low-income students unable to afford tuition for local dance studios or have limited access to the arts.
The Arts for All Foundation travels throughout the Sacramento region, and offers classes at locations including the North Highlands Community Center and the River City Christian Church’s Ignite Dance Studio. Sandifer said she hopes to expand California National Day of Dance to include the Bay Area and Southern California, making it a statewide event in the future.
California National Day of Dance
Where: State Capitol; Memorial Auditorium, 1515 J Street
When: Saturday, July 29
Cost: Free dance classes; $20 for dance concert tickets