Kennedy Center celebrates National Dance Day with free events this weekend

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews National Dance Day at Kennedy Center (Part 1)

Rugs will be cut, moves will be busted, and boogie shoes will officially be worn out.

The Kennedy Center is excited to celebrate National Dance Day this Saturday in D.C.

“It’s a free day of dance that we host every fall,” Director of Dance Programming Jane Raleigh told WTOP. “Come out with your family, experience free dance performances, dance classes, get up and move your body as we get ready to jump into the fall.”

Preliminary everts start Thursday with Krystal Butler’s “BreAkThRougH” and Friday with Project ChArma’s “Chronicles of Nina… what now,” both on Millennium Stage.

Saturday in the Family Theatre you can watch “To Sail Around the Sun” by D.C. dance group Company E and the music ensemble Sound Impact at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The main festivities happen outdoors on the REACH Plaza from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

“We’ve got a wide variety of classes, performances and interactive arts and crafts things happening throughout the day,” Raleigh said. “If you have taken dance class and trained dance your whole life, National Dance Day is for you, but also if you just want to get up and have a little bit of a dance party with your family, National Dance Day is also for you!”

It kicks off at 1 p.m. with a Flamenco class by the Flamenco Aparicio Dance Company.

Tariq Darrell O’Meally will teach a contemporary dance improv class at 2 p.m.; Project ChArms will explore street styles and techniques with a soul train line at 2:30 p.m.; and Lucy Bowen McCauley presents Dance for Parkinson’s Disease at 3 p.m. where folks with Parkinson’s Disease dance to live music performed by local guitarist Taylor Carson.

Capitol Tap and District Tap show off their tap-dancing at 3:15 p.m.; queer-centric ballet group Haus of Bambi presents Party & Prance at 3:30 p.m.; Chitra.MOVES explores a South Asian immigrant’s journey at 4 p.m.; Company E performs an excerpt from “To Sail Around the Sun” at 4:30 p.m.; and CityDance Conservatory performs at 4:45 p.m.

“I’m really excited for this class called Afro-Fit, which is like a fitness class to upbeat dance music with Ashanté Green,” Raleigh said, referring to the special 5 p.m. event.

The Esperonto Project performs an urban dance showcase at 5:30 p.m. featuring a variety of house, locking, popping and more with guest DJ Jamile McGee.

“So You Think You Can Dance” winner Bailey Muñoz will teach everyone the official National Dance Day routine at 6 p.m. “It’s kind of tricky this year, I’ve learned it already, but it’s a fun opportunity to learn the same routine that everyone is learning across the country for National Dance Day, maybe put it on TikTok, put it on your social media,” Raleigh said.

Set your alarm for a bonkers show at 6:30 p.m. as DarlingDance performs “All my Friends,” a site-specific piece across the entire REACH campus. “You’ll watch dancers interacting with the architecture, rolling down a hill, it moves all over the REACH,” Raleigh said.

It all wraps with Soka Tribe’s “Tales form the Tribe III” at 7:30 p.m. taking you on a journey from the origins of the Afro-Caribbean Carnival through the modern African diaspora.

Several events will be live-streamed in case you can’t make it.

Find more information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews National Dance Day at Kennedy Center (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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