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National Movement

Local troupes get a leg up on National Dance Week.
courtesy of Golden Lion Productions

Toe tappers all around the world decided about eight years ago that it was high time for an entire week dedicated to dance. So they put their jazz hands together and created National Dance Week, designated as the last week in April each year. They're currently still lobbying for national recognition, but even Dubya supports their efforts. He commented in an April 11, 2002, "Presidential Commendation" letter: "Dancing's unique ability to communicate ideas and feelings has been a part of the American cultural tradition since our founding." We must have missed that chapter in the history books.

The Arizona version of this budding national festival is the Celebration of Dance. A fantastic array of dance companies is scheduled to perform, including Ballet Arizona, Movement Source, Royal Dance Works, ASU Hip Hop Coalition, Misionarios de Folklore, and many more. These groups represent hip-hop, ballet, club dance, urban break-dance, tap, salsa . . . you get the idea. Dee Dee Wood, this year's celebrity spokesperson, says the concert "blends trained dancers with street dancers, and they share their styles -- it's a beautiful spectacle."

Wood knows what she's talking about when it comes to dance. She is an Emmy-winning choreographer known for her work on films like The Sound of Music and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. "This event is just meant to celebrate dance and make the community aware of how beneficial dance is for adults and students," she explains. "I got involved in dance because my best friend was a dancer. And one night I saw her perform, and that was it -- I was hooked."

Pop off the couch, lock up your house, and caterpillar your way over to this event. If you don't break any bones, you'll be hooked, too.


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