Monday, August 09, 2010

Dizzy Utah feet celebrate National Dance Day


SALT LAKE CITY — More than 150 Utah dancers moved to the music Saturday in celebration of National Dance Day, an idea that grew out of a national television show and was recognized by Congress for the first time this year.

The Salt Lake event, sponsored by local dance company Xtreme Danzz, was held at Studio 600.

Dance professionals from around the state volunteered their time Saturday, including "High School Musical" choreographer Ro Malaga and the Utah Jazz Dance Team, who taught everyone the Dizzy Feet dance.

"That's the dance that everyone around the world is doing today," Jazz dance team captain Nicole Gunnarson explained.

Different styles of dance were highlighted throughout the day, and anyone was welcome to come out and give them a try for free. These included fitness dance classes featuring ballroom and hip-hop. There were classes for the tropical hula and Tahitian dances. The day ended with a final routine of the Dizzy Feet dance.

Fitness buddies Wendy Smock and Monique Way attended the event together to try out new styles of dance.

"We all need to be more active," said Smock, who met Way through a Zumba dance class. "And this is a way to get people moving and let people know there's different ways they can get dancing and get moving to exercise."

Amy Moore, part owner of Xtreme Danzz, said that more than anything else, celebrating National Dance Day was about sharing dancing and getting people to care more about fitness. Dance has been a part of her life since she was 3 years old, says Moore, who has opened her own dance studio focused on teaching kids.

"(National Dance Day) was about bringing everyone together and making new friends," she said.

The idea for the day got its start on the popular television show "So You Think You Can Dance," whose producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe pushed efforts to have the day recognized by Congress. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the congressional delegate to Washington, D.C., and leader of the government's national healthy lifestyle movement, took up the cause and pushed recognition of the day through.

The purpose is to celebrate dance, from professional ballet to hip-hop and crunk, but also to help get people up and moving. Fitness is a huge issue for the congresswoman, and Saturday's newly recognized day is one way she's pushing physical activities.

"More than 30 percent of Americans are obese and childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years," Norton said in a press release. "Television shows such as 'So You Think You Can Dance' are not only entertaining but are also encouraging people to live a physically active lifestyle. Holding a National Dance Day in the nation's capital is a terrific way to promote fitness and fight obesity."

Moore helped coordinate the Salt Lake City event by calling local dance studios and recruiting groups to come out and showcase their dancing skills.

"We just wanted to offer a great convention. … We just wanted to offer everyone a reason to come out and get moving, celebrate dance, get fit. It's just a great opportunity for the community to come out and get together."

National Dance Day popped up in different forms in every state, from Florida to Alaska, all celebrating the Dizzy Feet Foundation's dance. The foundation, which was started by Lythgoe, helps teach underprivileged youths to dance.

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