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Celebrating National Dance Day Isn’t Just for Dancers

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

This Saturday is National Dance Day, a day launched in 2005 by Nigel Lythgoe, Judge of So You Think You Can Dance, and co-founder of the Dizzy Feet Foundation. It is a day which “encourages Americans to embrace dance as a fun and positive way to maintain good health and fight obesity,” according to the Dizzy Feet Foundation website. It mirrors International Dance Day, which occurs every April.

As a dancer, I have noticed that my friends who don’t dance also don’t know what this day is, no matter how many seasons of SYTYCD they’ve seen. National Dance Day isn’t a day specifically for dancers; in fact, that would defeat the purpose. This day is for everyone to appreciate dance and just get moving. Dance is something that any and every one can enjoy – all you need is music! In order to give everyone the opportunity to celebrate National Dance Day, and show the universality of dance, I’ve asked a few questions to dancers and non-dancers alike. Read below and see what you can relate to, or what you would answer differently; it’s all dance here!

1. When did you start dancing and why?

“I started dancing when I was 5. My mom was a dancer growing up and I always had a passion for entertaining people so she put me in dance; I wasn’t a very shy kid! I remember my first dance recital I did a tap dance to the song “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley and wore a pink poodle skirt with music notes on it. Ever since then it just stuck and I fell in love with dancing. After high school, I decided to end my dance career and focus more on other passions of mine. I still love the art of it, but it wasn’t something I wanted to make a professional career out of. I still do pirouettes around my kitchen though, not going to lie, it’s a guilty pleasure (ha!), and I will always consider myself a dancer because it was such a huge part of my life.” – Gabby Lintz

“I started when I was 4, which is pretty young. I have not stopped moving since then and I am 22!  My mom put me in ballet class (laughs)… I did not like ballet when I was younger, but now I understand it is the necessary foundation for everything I do. I am grateful for the discipline, training and passion that was instilled at the start.” – Kendra Weaver

“I started dancing 2 years ago. I was asked to be a part of RUKUS, tried out, and now it is a passion.” – Fred Barthell

“I started dancing at the age of 12 because I was a part of an aftercare program that required us to do a dance show at the end of the year. They told me I was good at it and I continued to practice years after.” – Randall Collins

“I’ve been dancing at family parties for as long as I can remember, that’s where it started for me; it has always been a big part of my culture.” –Liset Rodriguez

“I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t dancing (laughs). I’ve grown up in a dance studio; it was my second home. I’m not really sure why my mother enrolled me in classes – either I danced too much around the house, or told her how much I wanted to be a ballerina. Regardless, I’m so grateful that she did. I’ve been dancing ever since!” – Darin Dabney

“I danced when I was little, but never continued with it professionally. Then I danced on the color guard.” – Celeste Sierra


2. What is your favorite thing about dance?

 “My favorite thing about dance was always telling a story. Dance is so powerful and expressing myself and using my body to tell a story and perform was always my favorite part. I also loved the backstage glitz and glam of it all, and the rush of excitement and the butterflies before going on stage.” – Gabby

“If I truly answered this, we could be talking for three hours. However, I will keep it short and say that my favorite things about dance are:

  • How it brings people together in the most beautiful way. You can instantly feel connected to a stranger.
  • That feeling of being alive and the best version of yourself in the moment.
  • The expression, creativity and appreciation for the art. Making people feel something.” – Kendra

“My favorite thing about dancing is that you are free to move how you please and just not care about life. Also, I get my cardio workout in.” – Fred

“My favorite thing about dance is the freedom of expression. I can be whoever and whatever I want to be when I dance. It’s a great feeling to be able to do what I want with my body and entertain people at the same time.” – Randall

“It allows a person to express themselves through their bodies in a way that no other art form can. It’s a beautiful thing to watch and experience yourself.” – Liset

“I love that dance is something you can always grow in; there’s always something new to learn or a new move to try.” – Darin

“My favorite thing is that there is no limit to dance and the way to move your body.” – Celeste


3. What is your favorite style (to watch or to perform)?

“My favorite style performing was always jazz! It’s a style that requires so much personality to be incorporated into it, and it was always the most fun for me. As far as watching goes, I think every style has its own unique perks and they’re all amazing to watch. But, I love watching hip-hop because that’s personally a style I was never seriously trained in and it has so much swag. I also love watching emotional lyrical pieces and ballerinas on pointe.” – Gabby

“Growing up it was always tap and hip-hop. Now, I’ve found a deeper appreciation for hip-hop and contemporary, and I am finding my style within that realm.” – Kendra

“My favorite style… I would say groovy and hype (hip-hop styles).” – Fred

“I enjoy watching all styles so it is difficult to pinpoint a style that I call my favorite. I’ve been really into Chicago Footwork, Whacking, and Tutting lately.” – Randall

“I can’t decide. I love all styles of dance starting from my Latin roots to the hip-hop that’s taken over me lately.” – Liset

“Contemporary has always been my favorite – it can be fused with other styles and really pushes dancers.” – Darin

“My favorite style is contemporary, because its so emotional to watch and perform.” – Celeste


4. Do you have any plans for Saturday (National Dance Day)?

“I don’t have plans for Saturday maybe I’ll throw my own little dance party (laughs). I look forward to watching the recap of National Dance Day on my favorite show, So You Think You Can Dance every year though!” – Gabby

“I plan to be supporting at DGBEK! They’re having free classes – take advantage Orlando!!!” – Kendra

“Saturday, I will be at a family event. I planned to dance the night away.” – Fred

“I unfortunately will not be around the dance community this year for National Dance Day, but I still plan on at least freestyling and recording it.” – Randall

“You’ll probably catch me dancing (winks).” – Liset

“Hopefully I can find Center Stage online somewhere; I think Netflix took it down from its queue. If not, I’ve got the original Fame movie on DVD, and I’ll spend the night dancing with my friends!” -Darin


5. Who are your favorite dancers in the industry?

“My favorite dancers and choreographers in the industry are Travis Wall, because he is just a genius, Michael Jackson because he was so beyond unique and there’s no other moves like the ones he created, and Napoleon and Tabitha (Nappytabs). I’ve met them a couple times at dance conventions and I think their routines are so intricate and their partner work is flawless. They are also super nice and down-to-earth.” – Gabby

Keone & Mari Madrid. (Drops mic) People I stumble across on YouTube. They don’t have to have a big name to make an impact on me. Everything I come in contact with leaves an impression on me and has the potential to influence my movement. My friends who I am lucky enough to surround myself with definitely inspire me.” – Kendra

“My favorite dancers in the industry right now are Jose Hollywood, Tricia Miranda, Willdabeast, Janelle Ginestra, Kaelynn “KK” Harris, Sean Bankhead & Keone Madrid.” – Fred

“Some of my favorite dancers are actually the people I see around Orlando/Florida. I don’t look up to the famous dancers anymore because I’m not learning directly from them. A few people to look up to are The Flooridians, the choreographers from The Squad, and Exist.” – Randall

“Way too many (laughs).” – Liset

“Basically everyone on RUKUS. Willdabeast, Jasmine Harper, Travis Wall, Misty Copeland, Debbie Allen, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson (who I like to pretend is my mother) … I could go on all day!” – Darin

Sophia Lucia, Tate McRae, Fikshun, Travis Wall, Derek Hough, Ricky Ubeda.” – Celeste


6. Do you plan to continue dancing after graduation? (This question was posed to those who are dancers.)

“Without a doubt. Wouldn’t want it any other way. Pursue what makes you happy!” – Kendra

“Yes, after graduation I’m going to train very hard, and try to get tons of auditions. I hope to move to Atlanta and start a dance career.” – Fred

“I plan on dancing until the day I can no longer move. It’s not even an option. I may slow down at some point but I will never just stop dancing.” – Randall

“If I find the time, definitely!” – Liset

“Definitely! I don’t plan on giving up dance any time soon. Maybe someday I’ll even try out for STYTCD.” – Darin


What are your plans for Saturday, collegiettes? The Dr. Phillips Center downtown has partnered with the Dizzy Feet Foundation to bring Orlando some really cool dance events that everyone can take part in! If you can’t make it downtown, grab some friends, pick a playlist, and just dance!



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Darin Kela is a junior at the University of Central Florida. She is majoring Advertising & Public Relations and has a minor in Dance. She is a huge fan of Zendaya, and is obsessed with natural hair. She enjoys listening to R&B music and silently choreographing to every song that plays through her earphones. When she's not in class or hanging out with RUKUS Entertainment on campus, you can catch her re-watching A Different World on Netflix or her favorite beauty tutorials on Youtube. Follow Darin's journey on Instagram & Twitter.
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