National Dance Day celebrated in Vicksburg

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 26, 2015

JUST DANCE: Local National Day of Dance organizer Amelia Brame, left, leads a dance Saturday at Debra Franco School of Dance.

JUST DANCE: Local National Day of Dance organizer Amelia Brame, left, leads a dance Saturday at Debra Franco School of Dance.

From toddlers to grandmothers, anyone and everyone was dancing at Debra Franco School of Dance Saturday, signaling National Dance Day was in full swing.

The annual celebration takes place the last Saturday in July, and the grassroots campaign encourages Americans to embrace dance as a fun and positive way to maintain good health and fight obesity, said Amelia Brame, local National Dance Day organizer and teacher at Debra Franco School of Dance.

“The Dizzy Feet Foundation is the dance organization that promotes physical fitness through dance,” she said. “They team up with the show ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ which kind of promotes the event, and they set up different activities throughout the country.”

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Brame said in addition to the big events in places like Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, the organization encourages people to create their own.

“I got an email about it and noticed there weren’t any in Mississippi, so we decided to create our own,” she said. “Ms. Debra let us use her space.”

Brame kicked off the day by teaching the National Dance Day routine, which was posted on YouTube for everyone to learn. The day continued with a different free dance class each hour, including Zumba, Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet for Littles, Recreational World Dance and Yoga/Stretching.

“We’ve pulled dance teachers from all the different studios to make it a community event,” she said.

In addition to teachers from Debra Franco School of Dance, instructors from Vicksburg Dance Studio, RiverPointe Dance Academy and Shape Up Sisters joined to help put on the event.

“I think this is a great way to expose people to dance and how dance can promote healthy lifestyle,” she said. “Especially here in Mississippi, dance isn’t offered in public education like it is in other places. I think just exposing people to dance is great. Maybe they’ll love it and want to continue.”

Brame said she hopes to make it an annual event.

Debra Franco of Debra Franco School of Dance said having a National Dance Day is important.

“Dancing was one of the first art forms ever created and naturally done and it’s good for the body,” she said. “Having a National Dance Day brings special attention to it.”