Maryland dancers join the masses online for National Dance Day

There wasn’t a large group of dancers on the lawn at the Kennedy Center this year, but two Maryland dancers were among the many to hop online and show their passion for National Dance Day on Saturday.

It’s been difficult for serious dancers like Madison Nelson, 12, of Ellicott City to keep her training going during the coronavirus pandemic.

But National Dance Day helped.

Madison Nelson, 12, of Ellicott City, Maryland, said events like National Dance Day are especially important this year. (Courtesy Jonathan Hsu)

“Now that there’s this opportunity with the Kennedy Center — I think it’s so great to bring the dance community together so we can all share what we love on a day that acknowledges and celebrates something that we do and something that we care about so much,” said Madison, who dances at Spotlight Studio of Dance in Anne Arundel County.

The Kennedy Center held a full day of online classes for National Dance Day.

Monica Stephenson, head of school for The Washington School of Ballet’s southeast campus at THEARC, kicked off the day with a ballet class for beginners.

“Hold your core strong,” Stephenson said while showing a combination at the barre. “Is your tummy still tight?”

Chase Nelson, 16, and her sister Madison see National Dance Day as a positive light for their art. (Courtesy Brian Mengini)

The free online workshops include styles such as ballet, jazz, Afrobeats and disco, and represent all eight wards in D.C.

For Madison, the day is about bringing the community together.

“This is a day that all dancers can come together and just do what they love and acknowledge something that is so beautiful,” she said.

Madison’s sister Chase Nelson, 16, a dancer at Maryland Youth Ballet in Silver Spring, said that finding classes to continue her training during the pandemic has been tough.

“It’s been hard to find motivation, as well as classes to take,” Chase said. “It’s been very weird to adjust to the new lifestyle that we have now where you don’t get to talk to teachers face to face or receive hands-on corrections, which is a main part of how you improve in dance.”

The lessons can be rewatched online at any time.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | District of Columbia

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Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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