Moore Than Dance with their Special Stars class.

A Chance to Dance is an opportunity for all to get involved and help raise money for special needs dance educational programs.  So as we get make our preparations for National Dance Week – April 22 – May 1 2016 here is a heartwarming story.  #NDWChanceToDance

Click here for the story

Special Stars class from Moore Than Dance in MN

Special Stars class from Moore Than Dance in MN


Rhythm Works Integrative Dance teams up with National Dance Week and the Wingman Program! By Tricia Gomez

BREAKING NEWS!!! We are beyond excited to team up with the National Dance Week Foundation and the Wingman Program to raise awareness of the benefits of dance for all, especially those with special needs and learning differences!

Children with special needs and learning differences are often excluded from traditional dance and arts programs.  It’s our collective mission to provide the education and tools necessary for teachers, students, and parents to effectively facilitate inclusion, giving all the “Chance to Dance!”  Join us in helping to make it happen!  #NDWChanceToDance #IHelpedMakeItHappen


From April 22-May 1, 2016 get your students and community involved!  Here’s how YOU can help make it happen:

  1. Proof 3C blue editPurchase the National Dance Week (NDW) event t-shirt.  A portion of the purchase price will go towards providing educational scholarships for dance teachers to become certified Rhythm Works Integrative Dance Instructors.  In addition, a portion of the purchase price will be donated to the Wingman Program to provide qualified teachers with the Wingman Program guide, tools, and activities to empower their students to accept and include participants of all abilities!  Click here to order your NDW t-shirt!
  2. Show your support! Organize a “wear you NDW t-shirt to class” day/week.  Remind everyone that the funds raised by the purchase of the NDW t-shirt will go to great causes to promote dance for all across the nation!  Encourage your coworkers, family, friends, students, and community to do the same!
  3. Learn the Dance Mob routine! Organize and participate in NDW’s Dance Mob wearing your NDW t-shirt.  This year’s dance focuses on performance and including people of all abilities!  It’s simple and fun, so get everyone you know involved.  Click here to view the routine (coming soon)!
    Here are a few ideas:

    • Have your dancers learn the Dance Mob routine and enrich their community by teaching it to students at local special education schools, organizations, and non-public schools!  Be sure to get it on video to upload to the NDW website!
    • Perform your Dance Mob routine (wearing your NDW t-shirt) at local events, malls, preschools, assisted living centers, and sports games!  Be sure to get it on video to upload to the NDW website!
    • Get the whole family involved!  NDW is for everyone, not just trained dancers!  Teach the routine to your entire family and video your living room performance…wearing your NDW t-shirt of course!  Be sure to post these performances to the NDW website too!


NDWF logo transparentNational Dance Week was formed in 1981 when a group of dance-related organizations began a strong “grass roots” movement to bring greater recognition to dance. National Dance Week Foundation was established as a non-profit institution in 2011. Over the years, the organization’s dedication to its founding mission has inspired thousands of events during the ten-day annual celebration of National Dance Week in April, from gatherings in major cities to local showcases at small-town malls. These reflect the unique and creative abilities of the individuals and organizations who participate in an array of events, including the annual Dance Mob and annual Kick for Kindness Campaign, celebrating dance in unlimited ways throughout the year.  Learn more at


PrintDylan’s Wings of Change is a foundation dedicated to the memory of Dylan Hockley, one of the first grade victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting on December 14th, 2012. The foundation is devoted to children with autism with programs to ensure their opportunity to develop to their maximum potential through sports, the arts and technology.  The Wingman Program empowers participants with leadership and courage to break down barriers, go above and beyond for others, and create acceptance and empathy through a series of activities and rewards.  Donations to the foundation ensure the program guide and rewards items are provided to dance programs free of charge!  Learn more at!wingman/cwod.


RhythmWorksLogo-rgbRWID is based on the world-renowned Hip Hop Made Easy Program currently offered in over 2100 schools and studios worldwide!  Founded on the principles of sensory processing, kinesiology, and behavioral analysis, RWID has re-imagined purposeful dance and its use in achieving developmental goals for kids with special needs and individual learning differences.  Through intensive 2 and 3-day instructor certification workshops, Rhythm Works Integrative Dance Instructors are well equipped with the knowledge and awareness needed to effectively implement inclusive and specialized dance classes.  Learn more at

Guest ,

Dancers supporting Dancers

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

It is heartwarming when we get an opportunity to see a community to unite together in support.  That is the case with Monica Kuechler  a long time dancer and dance teacher from Stirling NJ.  I have witnessed many times the dance community rise to the occasion when a need is made known as in this case.  Dance teachers impart many skills to their students to help them to achieve the best level of performance.  But a teachers impact on a student or parent’s life goes much deeper and can last a lifetime.  That can be seen in the support Monica received in her battle with melanoma. Unfortuately Monica did not win her battle.

But this story does not end there but with the continued support and contributions given to help assisting her family with mountain of bills.  That is the happy ending and the inspiration of the story.  Dance teachers share a part of them every time they walk into their classrooms.  This time it was the students, families and dance community that shared back.


Holiday Nutrition Survival Guide! By Shantha M. Wilson, R.D.

Dance of all types is a great way to stay in shape during the holiday season.  But don’t forget the power of intelligent food choices as you navigate your way through holiday parties and family get-togethers that often revolve around food.  Here are some tips to keep you lean through all the festivities!

  1. Before attending a dinner party, eat a small breakfast and lunch with protein so you aren’t starving. This will help you avoid overeating at dinner.
  2. Emphasize lean meats like fish or grilled chicken breast.
  3. Fill up on fruits and vegetables. Try not to think of any foods as “forbidden”. Be sure to get the servings of fruits and vegetables you need first, then you can include a snack or dessert.
  4. Limit calories from treats and goodies to 10% of your daily intake. If you eat 2,000 calories per day, then you can have 200 of those calories from an “empty” source such as crackers or dessert.
  5. When eating out, order dressing and sauces on the side and limit yourself to one item from the bread basket! Consider splitting an entrée with someone or eat only half.  You’ll have another meal ready later!
  6. Instead of indulging in daily sweets, limit desserts and sweets to special occasions and parties. Eat 1/2 what you normally would.  If several choices tempt you, try a bite or two of 2-3 selections.
  7. Instead of running through a drive-thru for fast food which is high in fat and calories, but low in nutrients, eat healthy dinners at home that you can prepare in advance on the weekend or with a crockpot. A little meal planning each week goes a long way!
  8. Soups made from vegetables, whole grains and/or lean meats or beans without cream or half and half (unless fat-free) are excellent choices in the fall and winter. Not only are they high in nutrition, the volume makes you feel full faster so you eat less!
  9. Try whole wheat bread and brown rice instead of white bread, white rice, etc.
  10. For breakfast eat oatmeal, whole wheat toast, ½ whole wheat bagel, yogurt, and or fruit instead of pastries and lattes made with sugar-laden syrups and whole milk. Eggs are an excellent protein source or a smoothie made with protein powder or Greek yogurt.
  11. Avoid seconds during holiday meals and parties. Control your portion sizes and eat ½ what you normally would of calorie-laden items such as gravy, mashed potatoes, rolls, and dessert.  Double up on vegetables, salad, and fruit if you are still hungry!
  12. Substitute lighter items for the real thing. Instead of sour cream, use fat-free sour cream or plain yogurt.  Instead of oil when baking those holiday goodies, use applesauce.
  13. Instead of having a beverage such as soda or alcohol full of empty calories, drink water or a non-calorie beverage and use those calories to indulge in a small treat-but have ½ your normal amount!

Let me illustrate the power of making smarter food choices in one client’s day.  I will call her Jane.  By making a few substitutions in one day, was shocked when she found out she had an excess of almost 2000 calories! Here is one of the five changes she made.  This is just one day!

Fat-free or viniagrette dressing vs. regular dressing:                                      -200 calories

Remember, 3500 extra calories result in a weight gain of one pound.  There is power in making smart food choices.  By doing so, you can stay lean and fit all year!  Feel free to contact me for private nutrition consultations or a nutrition master class for your organization at the email below. Have a safe and healthy holiday season!

Shantha M. Wilson, R.D. received a B.S. in Clinical Dietetics from Brigham Young University.  She has worked as a dietary director for MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERASunrise Healthcare Corporation.  She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and is in private practice.   She resides in Arizona with her husband and three children and works as a freelance contributing editor.  Shantha can be reached at  This content is copyrighted and used by National Dance Week with permission.
Guest, Health/Nutrition

A Time for Thanks

This is a time a year everyone begins to reflect on friends and family.  A time of sharing our changes and comforts along with seeing some of our favorite smiling faces.  That is how it is for me with the friends who participate in and attend the UDMA shows each October in

UDMA 2015

UDMA 2015

Atlanta, NJ and Chicago.  For many including myself it is a time of up building when vendors, dance teachers and studio owners alike get the opportunity to share their stories and experiences with each other.

Of course the highlight for me is to touch base with all those who have taken their time and energy to support NDWF and its many programs.  I want to especially thank those who were the motivating forces and inspiring their students to take the lead in our anti-bullying Kick for Kindness campaign and to take a stand, by wearing the red bracelets, signing our posters and creating videos.  Bullying is so widespread today and effects so many it is important to take the lead against it and I am proud to say many dancers have.

National Dance Week for 2016 will be April 22-May 1st and many are already making plans.  Many of last year’s ambassadors are signing up again and getting busy.  It was so much fun to see all the dance mob videos from 2015 and I was touched by all the essays and posters from our younger dancers.  This year in 2016 we will even have Princess Plie

Princess Plie'

Princess Plie’

choreographing a special dance mob for preschoolers.

A special thanks to those who worked tirelessly in our National Dance Week Foundation’s booths – Catherine Chu, Mary Dressendofer,  Nicole Tidermann and one of our board members Donna Mueller along with her staff.  I look forward to seeing all of you next year along with meeting some new friends in Boston.

Atlanta 2015

Atlanta 2015

Chicago 2015

Chicago 2015

Cathy Graziano

Executive Director


Empowering Action – Cyberbullying in 2015 by Jessica Starr

Last year, my LA based non-profit dance company MusEffect, inspired audiences to educate themselves during MusEffect PSA #2Cyberbullying Awareness Month.  It was through our unique vehicle of raising social awareness addressing a painful topic that is all too familiar in our society that caught people’s attention worldwide.  MusEffect’s Public Service Announcement, 953K – Inspiring Action Against Cyberbullying generated over 1.2 million views and countless inspirational stories of healing and resolution from audiences across the globe.

I attribute the rampant success of this particular PSA to the void of comprehension in our society of this subject matter.  There is a severe lack of compassion for cyberbullying due to the issue being specific to the younger generation. Therefore, it is often disregarded and not understood by the teachers, parents and mentors of the world.

“Cyber”bullying did not exist years ago.  If you wanted to bully someone, you would do it right to their face.  Call them names, shove them in a locker but at least the bully had to see you face to face.  Now anyone can bully anonymously, sit behind a screen and torment others, never having to look their victims in the eyes.

After seeing the outpour of stories that the MusEffect PSA provoked last year, I knew it was a subject that needed further exploration in our society.  Typically our method with our PSAs was simply to raise awareness, but I knew this topic needed more. There is no simple solution for a tragic trend like cyberbullying but as a culture we are not helping by only mourning the tragedy after it has already happened and playing victim to something so horrific.  Instead we need to get fired up and recognized that the peak of the solution begins with finding a proactive method of stopping it, before it even starts.

Being around so many incredible young dancers day in and day out that obtain near “instafamous” statuses, I began to realize that the start to a solution lies in perspective.  I knew we could make an impactful difference by empowering these social media leaders of the next generation to stand up and make a change themselves simply by using social media for good, rather than taking more selfies and requesting more TBH (to be honest) affirmations.  No matter how much I personally try to improve the problem, it is not my peers that are initiating the cycle, but the generations below me.  I realize it is vital that we remind this younger Z generation on a daily basis, how much power and influence they have within their peer group.  It is even more important that we teach them to USE it to make a much-needed social change.   Giving these young artists the tools and confidence to lead their generation into a time where positivity and encouragement online is cooler than bullying is the ultimate goal.

This past Summer, our 2015 Mini Musers were a prime group to test this theory out on, and boy did they prove this theory right.  These young artists soared when they were given the chance to be heard.  With the right amount of encouragement, these youth advocates showed an impressive amount of intellect and compassion for the topic and jumped in head first to create change by using their social media to affirm and inspire one another towards confidence and strength.  It only takes one, one adult, one mentor, one word of encouragement to the right person at the right time, to begin this social shift that is needed now more than ever.



MusEffect is committed to not only raising social awareness to such causes like cyberbullying but believes it is important to take a hands on approach to initiating change.  Speaking about it is often not enough, but getting up and taking action makes all the difference in the world.


Jessica Starr
Muse Dance Company | MusEffect
901 N. Fairfax Ave.

PMB #224

Jessica Starr

Jessica Starr

Los Angeles, CA 90046

Cat London – The Right Way

Kick for Kindness Anti Bullying campaign is honored and proud to introduce Cat London the creator of the song The Right Way which was the inspiration of the dance video of the same name.  NDWF posted the video on Saturday October 24th and it is included here again today. 

Here is her story –

#TheRightWay is a bullying awareness and kindness campaign that grew out of my song, “The Right Way.” The duet features two young people struggling with acceptance, empathy, and bullying. The song makes us recognize that we are the same, we feel the same pain, but we might not realize it. The Right Thing 1

Some backstory: My producer, Rich Aveo, and I decided to bring “The Right Way” into studio November 2014. Vince Inciong, music teacher at Middlesex High School in NJ, brought “The Right Way” into his classroom. My creative team saw an opportunity to finally create the campaign we had always envisioned to propel our message of kindness. The campaign video is comprised of his students’ opinions on what it means to treat others the right way. Vince and Rich spearheaded the production of #TheRightWay, and it caught the attention of news anchor Della Crews of News12 NJ, who invited us to interview on one of her segments!

Our newest extension of #TheRightWay is our music video directed by Ian J. Keeney and choreographed and performed by Danielle Nicolosi and Erica Russo from L.A. Dance in Lincroft, NJ. It’s absolutely stunning and I’m so proud of my team. The concept of expressing the song through lyrical dance was suggestion by Michele Montesano. I fell in love with the possibility. L.A. Dance took the suggestion and ran…well, danced. The dancers and I met only a handful of times to talk motivation and vision before they had a completely choreographed lyrical ready for filming. I am absolutely humbled by the talent, the energy, and the devotion of this creative team.

So join us! We’re increasing awareness that we, as humans and peers, can achieve more through compassion, understanding, and willingness to dissolve barriers that perpetuate anger, hatred, and bullying.



A free download of The Right Way is available on We hope to bring #TheRightWay into interested schools to further our message of kindness. Please spread the love.


Kick for Kindness Opportunities By: Joyce Pennington and Brittany Dolotina, American Dance/Drill Team

Its that time of year again!  The National Dance Week Foundation is proud to sponsor the Kick for Kindness Anti-Bullying Campaign in October and November, where dancers are encouraged to take the lead in standing up against bullying.  We hope that you will join this movement, and plan a special performance to get your dancers involved in the fight against bullying.

American Dance/Drill Team has partnered with the National Dance Week Foundation to offer several great performance opportunities that support the Kick for Kindness campaign.   Join us on October 18th for a feature pre-game performance at the San Antonio Spurs game, or on October 31st for a feature pre-game performance at the Dallas Star game! Both events will be a great way for your dancers to take a stand and raise awareness against bullying.  For more information about these events or to register online, visit  There are many other ways for you and your dancers to get involved in this great campaign for October.  Make

San Antonio Spurs - "Day of Dance"

San Antonio Spurs – “Day of Dance”

your plans today and be sure to share your pictures by emailing and posting your videos on YouTube and share the link with us!

Dallas Stars Dance Spooktacular

Dallas Stars Dance Spooktacular

Kick for Kindness

Coast 2 Coast Supports National Dance Week

C2C 1

Mr. Louie speaking to CK Dance Theatre Dancers in Mississippi

Hello from “Coast 2 Coast: Dance Across America!” We’re a Not-for-Profit dance organization that travels the country each year during National Dance The C2C Crew consists of Choreographer Louie Perez, Executive Director and Tour DJ Jimmy Lyles, and Illusionist Ryan Dutcher. We set out on this mission to motivate and teach everyone we meet to “Never Give Up

C2C 2

Hannah Berry Grand Prize $1000 Scholarship presentation

The reason we started this is because of a boy’s love for dance and his determination to never give up on his dream. When our choreographer, Mr. Louie Perez, emigrated from Cuba to America at the age of 10, life was hard for his family. There came a time when he could no longer afford dance lessons, but his first dance teacher, Patsy Metzger, saw his passion for the arts. She allowed him to mop the floors at Debbie Reynolds Studio in North Hollywood, CA as payment for dance class– and the rest is history! Louie set out on this journey to “pay-it-forward” through his passion of dance and is making headlines across the country with the “Coast 2 Coast: Dance Across America” Tour!

When you think of New York… what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Of course many will say New York City, but there are approximately 55,000 square miles in the State of New York. We live about an hour from Times Square, so all three of the Coast 2 Coast Crew members have been heavily influenced by the greatest theater district in the world! Going from “Big City America” to “Small Town U.S.A.,” we get the opportunity to see the diversity of America. Although we have many states and studios to visit within National Dance Week—when we do have a few minutes of time, we try to take in some local landmarks. We’ve walked through the gates of Graceland in Memphis and we’ve seen the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Montana. We got the chance to dance in the Four Corners of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico—we’ve “Viva’d” in Las Vegas and danced in North Hollywood in the same studio that Michael Jackson’s Thriller was choreographed in! We found out there was more than corn in Indiana and not only potatoes in Idaho. We got to be in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby and even stopped by that famous “Dance Moms” studio in Pittsburgh—not to mention we’ve only been at it for two years! Just like most of the country thinks New York is one big city, each and every state from “Coast 2 Coast” has something special to offer! But one thing that we all love and can agree on about getting to tour the country each year is the differences between not only the landscape of the country, but the people that you meet.

C2C 3

125 participants from Miss Lori’s Dance Express in Michigan


Everybody has a story to tell, but you don’t always get to hear about it. Before each class we give our backstories; we’re three guys from three different backgrounds and are living proof that you can overcome any obstacle that’s in your path. Not only does this tour promote the health and fitness side of dance, but it also encompasses the ideals of persistence, perseverance, passion, and positivity. The tour proves that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things and students learn that no dream is too large or small—you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to, as long as you work hard.

What makes us unique is that participation is free of charge to students and studios nationwide and we actually get to visit, motivate, and teach at different locations across the country. This makes students more comfortable in their home studio and it also brings the opportunity to those who may not have the means to attend an additional workshop. We feel very honored to be asked to be a guest blogger for the National Dance Week Foundation If you would like to participate or are interested in seeing more of what we do during National Dance Week, please visit us online at:, follow us on Instagram: @Coast2CoastDance and!  You can also view our official 2015 Tour Video

Please feel free to visit our website: to find out more about where we have been and what we do! We provide a one hour Master Class free of charge to students and studios nationwide, all in celebration of dance and National Dance Week. Not only do we get to visit with thousands of dancers, we’re also able to award dance scholarships to keep kids dancing at their home studios throughout the country. We’re very happy to announce that our 2015 Scholarships were awarded to Hannah Berry from Miss Lori’s Dance Express in Michigan ($1000), Kallisty Adkins from Dance Attitudes in Wisconsin ($500), and Aubrie Connelly from Kathy Blake Dance Studios in New Hampshire ($250).



It’s Officially Summer by Cathy Graziano NDWF Executive Director

Summer has officially begun and it is time to recharge and relax.  Summertime for most dancers means the recitals are over and dance semesters have ended, it also is the closing of another successful National Dance Week Foundation year.  I personally along with all our board members want to say thank you for all your hard work, especially to our hard working NDWF Representatives.

NDWF’s year runs from July 1st to June 30th.  So we begin our year with our Algy sponsored anti bullying Kick for Kindness campaign in October and round out with our celebration of Nation Dance Week at the end of April.

The Kick for Kindness was a call to action for dancers of all ages to take the lead and “kick”  bullying.The support was expressed in kickline performances, banners created and

Carter Dance Company - Houston Texas

Carter Dance Company – Houston Texas

posted, proclamations signed and wonderful expressive dances.  We are looking for even more support and a greater response for 2015.


National Dance Week was action packed with our dance mob, essay and poster contests. also posted our essay winner – thank you Dance Media. The 2016 date is April 22-May 1st – so start making plans to join in the fun.  Take the plunge and become a leader in your area as an official National Dance Week Foundation.  Join today!

Bemus Point Elementary School

Bemus Point Elementary School