National Dance Day: Time to Reflect on Dance for Corporate Events

National Dance DayTomorrow is the 4th annual Official National Dance Day, created by Nigel Lythgoe, Executive Producer of So You Think You Can Dance, the hit TV show that has done more to raise the profile of dance than any initiative in recent memory. This celebration of dance, takes place on the last Saturday of July and aims to inspire Americans to explore dance for fun, exercise and fighting obesity. It's an excellent opportunity for event planners to consider ways to incorporate dance into events.

Through a new partnership with Lincoln Center Out of Doors program, tWitch and Allison Holke So You Think You Can Dance alumni will be leading group routines at Lincoln Center’s Revson Fountain in New York. In Washington, D.C., AXIS Dance Company will offer a dance program at Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. In Los Angeles at Music Center Plaza, Bollywood Dance choreographer Achinta McDaniel will host a full day program showcasing several genres including jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, and urban-Latin dance.

The public is invited to participate by learning one of the dance routines.


There is a seated version of the routine for individuals with physical challenges.


Mary Murphy from So You Think You Can Dance will be joining Flash Dance America for a flash mob at 8:00 pm on Universal City Walk in Los Angeles. In fact, communities across America are participating:

Boise National Dance Day Flash Mob 2014 (Instructional Video)

So how can event planners incorporate dance in their own events? Here are 10 ideas to get started:

  1. Select a Music or Dance Venue: Cvent Blog previously described how this year's Canadian Special Event Expo in Toronto was kicked off with a a reception at Sony Centre for the Performing Arts that has been used for everything from local and international ballet to Alvin Ailey.
  2. Morning Warm-up: For years, I have started workshops with some gentle stretching to relaxing music.
  3. Dance Breaks: Add an extra break around 11:00 AM, an hour after events resume after lunch, or 4:00 pm when energy tends to dip. My favorites have been a reggae dance break in the morning. I've done this during workshops as far away as Malaysian Borneo.
  4. Fitness Breaks: When I was the management development specialist at a major wireless communications firm, I used to have another employee who worked part-time at a fitness centre come into the group and lead a surprise jazz dance session in the afternoon
  5. Flash Mobs: Flash mobs can be effective for kicking off events, reinforcing themes, or simply providing entertainment. As we have previously discussed, Tourism Boards have demonstrated that flash mobs can be used successfully for event marketing.
  6. Leading Participants into an Event Space: For example, for one event, I used a Lion Dance to open the event space and capoeira and salsa dancers to lead the group back into the venue after a break.
  7. Bridging the Generation Gap: For a diverse workforce, hip-hop, or even parkour set to music can be used to surprise, engage and energize some of the younger team members.
  8. Dance Contests: Teams of employees can prepare routines and enter and celebrity judges can be invited.
  9. Entertainment: Experiment with a variety of genres including Bollywood, reggae, calypso, capoeira...the possibilities are endless.
  10. After Dinner Dancing: Opt for mixers like line dancing, square dancing, Ceilidh (pronounced kaylee), reels (e.g. The Virginia Reel), Rueda de Casino salsa (in a circle), or quadrille and individual work like shines rather than dancing in couples to ensure that no one feels left out.

Photo Credits: Elvert Barnes

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