Each spring, dancers across the country observe National Dance Week, a celebration of the beauty and power of dance to enrich lives. This year, National Dance Week runs from April 22 through May 1.
The mission of National Dance Week, according to the organization’s official website, is “to encourage the growth and development of dance in America by raising the public consciousness to the values, importance and contributions of dance to our daily lives and culture.”
“It is a time when dancers can demonstrate to the world at large that dance is not just an art form but that it also requires hard work, dedication, and athleticism,” said senior and Nu Delta Alpha President Jessica Borowczyk.
First formed in 1981 through a small grassroots movement, the Coalition for National Dance Week now calls upon dancers, teachers and dance lovers across the nation to ensure that dance receives the recognition it deserves as an art form.
Liturgical Dance Ensemble President Christine Wilbur said of National Dance Week, “This week and its events can help to spread awareness that dance is a highly sophisticated art form.”
The National Dance Week website suggests such activities as holding a performance, hosting a charity dance-a-thon or presenting lecture demonstrations in local schools, among other options, as possible means of celebrating the event.
This year, the Mercyhurst Dance Department in conjunction with Dance Club will be recognizing National Dance Week in their own unique way.
Dance Club is hosting a clothing exchange in which dancers can swap dancewear as well as donate dancewear to be given to underprivileged students.
They also created a specially dedicated observation area outside Palmer Studio in the Dancespace to encourage passersby to watch the dancing happening inside.
A dance-themed display has been erected in the Hammermill library entrance area as well to provide information about dance to the general campus community.
The National Dance Week activities at Mercyhurst culminate with the Dance Department’s performance of the classical ballet “Cinderella,” a production for which the dancers have been rehearsing all throughout spring term.
Moreover, dancers will be appearing on campus in costume to distribute flyers with information on both National Dance Week and the upcoming performance of “Cinderella.”
Still in honor of National Dance Week, though outside the actual week of celebration, both Dance Club and the Nu Delta Alpha Dance Honor Society will be hosting open master classes in May.
These classes include a tap class taught by Kelly Stolar of Kristin’s Dance Company and a swing dance class instructed by Geoff and Carrie Bach of City Style Swing.
Whether a dancer or simply a dance lover, National Dance Week is the perfect time to reflect on the importance of dance in our culture and the worth of the arts in general for inspiring and transforming lives.