Whether you're an experienced student of dance or just like to boogie around the house pretending you are, a local organization is here to help you celebrate National Dance Day this weekend.
Kern Dance Alliance is holding 10 dance classes on Saturday to celebrate the special day. Held at its Garces Memorial High School dance studio, the full slate covers different disciplines for a range of experience and abilities. Best of all, each class is only $2.
"It's a day not only of classes for trained dancers, but classes for everybody," said Andrea Hansen, KDA president. "We want everybody to have the chance to dance."
National Dance Day was started in 2010 by Nigel Lythgoe, judge on "So You Think You Can Dance" and co-president of the Dizzy Feet Foundation. This is the first year that the Kern Dance Alliance will be joining in on the fun, along with groups from cities all across the country.
Hansen said having a national day for dance promotes the fun, fitness and expression that dance can provide, no matter a dancer's skill level.
It was important to the alliance that classes be accessible not only in skill level but also in cost, so it set a low price point that initially was a play on the date: Since National Dance Day is on the 28th of July, the original plan was eight classes for $2 each. When an abundance of instructors reached out about leading a class, though, the group couldn't narrow it down to eight, so it went with 10.
"It's a day for people just to try their hand at something different, something new," Hansen said.
Classes are 50 minutes each and taught by local dance teachers. The day kicks off with Zumba at 9 a.m., a mixed level class led by Nesi Sheldon that is open to all experience levels.
Other classes that are open to anyone, with or without experience, are two hip-hop sessions — one each for children and adults — Afro modern and country line dance. (However, the children's hip-hop and Afro modern class are already sold out.)
Another class is sure to raise some eyebrows: pole-dancing.
"You kind of have two different notions: There's the sexy stripper feeling, but in my opinion, there's also a fitness to it," Hansen said. "How strong they are, it's crazy. In my mind, I see a bunch of girlfriends getting together to try pole-dancing and getting drinks at the Padre afterward."
While students of the pole-dancing class might pick up some sultry moves on the free-standing poles instructor Carmen Tomshack will bring, Hansen said it's more about the exercise they can get and strength they can build. After all, climbing up and hanging off a pole isn't exactly easy.
Proving that dance is truly for everybody regardless of abilities, the "Dance for Disability" class is for those with special needs. Led by Sakina Hansford, it's the latest of KDA's offerings for adaptive dance. (The alliance's ADAPTIdance program returns this fall, with registration opening Sept. 1.)
For those with dance experience, there are classes in contemporary, jazz and musical theater, but spots only remain for the jazz class.
Those taking the classes are encouraged to sign up in advance online, so organizers and instructors can have a better idea of the group they will be working with. Plan to be there early enough to fill out some forms, at least 15 minutes before a class for those who didn't register ahead of time.
Classes will be capped at 30, and Hansen said she "would love to see every class with 30 people in it."
Dancers should bring water and cash to pay the $2 cost. Whatever class one might be interested in, it's best to dress accordingly.
"Wear clothes you can bust a move in," Hansen said.
There will be giveaways all day, as well as raffles during each class. Those who don't win class raffles will be entered into a grand prize raffle at the end of the day.
The local classes are on the Dizzy Feet Foundation website, along with others going on in other cities. The KDA event even got tweeted out by the creator of National Dance Day himself.
"You know you've made it when Nigel Lythgoe retweets your tweet," Hansen said. Being featured on the official Dance Day website "legitimizes the work we're doing in the community. Now we're on this platform."
Hansen encouraged anyone who's ever been interested in a dance class to take advantage of the chance to do so that National Dance Day provides.
"Why not? It's $2 a class. Why wouldn't you want to try something new in a non-threatening environment where everybody is there to celebrate dance?"