Flash Mob

Eighteen years ago I attended a dance convention whom the director of was an acquaintance. We spent time talking during lunch and he asked if I would be interested in organizing an event in St. Louis that would celebrate National Dance Week. He told me that NYC was holding a public performance event with hopes to revive the celebratory week.

As I pondered what I could potentially do and how it could be meaningful, it occurred to me that for the many years that I had been a studio owner in St. Louis, I always felt that the city had a “lonely” dance community. Studios were not connecting with each other in any significant ways and there was no reason why they could not and should not do so. If I could organize a day of dance involving likeminded dancers on one stage, then that would be something to celebrate.

And so it was decided, I would offer an event that was reflective of the quality of dance in our community, unify the dancers of our community, and ultimately positively impact our community.


Missouri Ballet Theatre

Our first event was held in 1997, at the St. Louis Union Station. Our tiny stage consisted of wood squares that measured about a measly 12×12 feet placed on a concrete floor. Union Station generously told me that they had a sound system we could use, but unfortunately, to avoid the terrible static sound emanating over the speakers, my poor husband had to delicately hold a cable in place for our entire one and a half hour performance (for those of you who have been performing for decades, you know these struggles all too well). I believe we had about six groups that performed…we made it through and had a decent audience. All in all it was a lovely day,   what more could you ask for?

Since my youth, growing up and performing in NYC, I have possessed a dedication and passion for dance and have always welcomed hard work. Now, in the eighteen season of National Dance Week, I am thrilled to tell you that our event is highly recognized and anticipated among the studio owners, dance company’s, university company’s,  dancers and audiences alike. The excitement and enthusiasm among the dancers and artistic directors has become a very strong presence at our event where now we feature over 50 studios and dance troops.  We actually have to turn dancers away due to time constraints.

The audience overflows the performance venue (still held at the St. Louis Union Station) and we are a featured event by news outlets throughout the city.

A number of years ago we established the annual St. Louis NDW Honorary Dance Company Award which is given to a dance company which has shown both dedication and passion in their work. Over the years that honor has gone to MADCO, aTrek Dance Theatre, Afriky Lolo, The Slaughter Project, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Viva Flamenco, The Big Muddy Dance Company, Missouri Ballet Theatre, and Ashleyliane Dance Company, the 2015 awardee.

We have also had the honor to include guest artists and speakers such as the Kansas City Ballet Company, Alvin Ailey, Jo Rowan (Dance Chairman Oklahoma City Unversity), and Michael Uthoff (Executive Director of Dance St. Louis) to name a few. We have had the pleasure to hold various master dance classes and injury prevention workshops.

The local businesses who have been steadfast supporters helping to make our event a success since the early days of inception are; Dancewear Solutions, for our beautiful marley covered 40×25 raised stage; AudioActive Projects, who provides us with a professional sound system and sound technician; Jonathan R. White Photography; DanceArt Graphic Design for our website; Eureka Sign and Display for our stage banner; Union Station, providing the performance venue; Stages Performing Arts Academy; Edison Theatre; and Enterprise Bank and Trust.

To sum up, the reason I continue year after year to spearhead this event, along with a dedicated committee working with me, is because I can see the synergy and enthusiasm that has developed over the past 18 years. When fifty dance company’s come together to heighten the awareness of dance and expand dance education to the public by presenting a day of dance and a multitude of dance disciplines…something special happens.

I am proud to say that our event is a testament to the thrill an audience receives being entertained and the positive impact performers have as a result of one single word…  DANCE!

Please visit our website and Like us on Facebook!


Linda Green


What’s In Your Dance Bag?By Shantha M. Wilson, R.D.

In my last column, we discussed sports nutrition for dancers and its importance for peak Shanta Marchperformance, for the body to repair itself daily, and for injury prevention.  It is such a large topic that an overview of sports nutrition for dancers was all there was room for.  This column will focus on how to apply the principles of sports nutrition to your daily life.  March is National Nutrition Month!  So tell me, what’s in your dance bag?

In summary, to properly fuel your body and avoid injury, dancers need adequate carbohydrate, protein, fat, and water.  A good guideline to remember is no more than 10% of your daily calories should come from sweets or empty calories.  An average female dance athlete needs 2,000 calories per day which means 200 calories or less come from treats.  Eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible that are made up of mostly whole, unrefined foods that retain their nutrients and fiber.  Right before, during and after an event, think of fueling more than nutrition.  At these times, eating refined or processed foods make the most sense so that food is digested easily and energy can get to muscles quickly such as a sports drink, protein bar, or protein shake.  It is important to include carbohydrate and protein in the post workout/recovery window.  Recovery nutrition occurs 15 minutes to one hour following exercise.  Be sure to eat a small amount of protein along with carbohydrate at each meal and snack to maximize muscle building and repair.

Sample Menu:  Meals are fresh,     whole, unrefined        Snacks are easily digested and portable

Breakfast:                           AM/PM Snack                                         Lunch                                           Dinner
12 oz smoothie of            1 oz string cheese & 15 grapes          Turkey sandwich on whole                        3 oz grilled chicken or                                                                                                                                                                                             fish
Fresh berries,                    or 10 almonds & small apple                wheat bread w/tomato, spinach                      ½ c brown                                                                                                                                                                                                       rice
2 oz nonfat milk,               Protein bar or shake                                6 oz lowfat yogurt                                         ½ c broccoli or                                                                                                                                                                                                     spinach
4 oz vanilla Greek yogurt              Water                                              Canteloupe                                                             Tossed                                                                                                                                                                                                     green salad

Perfect Snacks for your Dance Bag

1 oz string cheese & bunch of grapes

10 almonds & small apple

3 T. Hummus with sliced cucumbers or red bell pepper You can buy single serve packages of hummus at grocery store or Costco

½ peanut butter or turkey sandwich

Protein or nutrition bar

Protein shake or smoothie

Make sure there is not a lot of added sugar in protein bars or smoothies.  Too much protein at once can also make you feel sick.  Your body can only digest so much at once.  Personally, I find more than 20 g of protein from a bar or protein shake to be too much.  Remember, stop and go athletes (dancers) require approximately 1.5 g protein/kg body weight.  Meaning a 120 pound female dancer would require 82 g protein/day and a 160 pound male dancer would require 109 g protein/day.

Hydration – Water Should Always Be in Your Dance Bag!!

Elite athletes may be 75% water by weight!  It is important to replenish fluid that you lose.  During training sessions of two hours or more, drink 16-20 oz. sports drink or water and a few pretzels or crackers.  Drink an additional 64 oz. of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. You will know you are drinking adequate water if your urine is not dark yellow.  If it is dark, make an effort to drink more water throughout your workout sessions.  With the right snacks containing some protein and carbohydrate and plenty of water in your dance bag, you can dance for hours!

Shantha M. Wilson, R.D. received a B.S. in Clinical MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERADietetics from Brigham Young University.  She has worked as a dietary director for Sunrise Healthcare Corporation.  She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) and is in private practice.  Shantha offers consultations and classes for dance studio patrons to make life easier and healthier.  She participated in dance and cheerleading in her youth and competed in ballroom dance during college.  Shantha resides in Arizona with her husband and three children and works as a freelance contributing editor.  She also started ShOvation Online Ticketing which is another service offered to make life easier for dance studio owners and their families.  Contact:  This content is copyrighted and used by National Dance Week with permission.

Team Up With National Dance Week 2015 by Anneliese Wilson – ABC for Dance and NDWF Board Member

Keeping your studio or company name in front of the public is a challenge for most dancers.  Paid advertising can be effective, but costly and sometimes it’s hard to know how to get exposure otherwise.  Teaming up with National Dance Week can help you get your studio or company’s name out to the public.Flash Mob Flash Mob pictures 2012 - 3Jane's Dance Boutique 3

The adage “You don’t get something for nothing” is pretty much spot on when you are looking at marketing, but that doesn’t mean it has to cost money.  If you want exposure in the press or through mainstream news media, you need to either pay for advertising or do something news worthy to be recognized for.

Press releases, while great, aren’t going to allow you to announce your upcoming class registration or announce your summer camps for free.  They will however let you announce and share the word about community service events or promote special events that have a charitable side.  Here are some ideas that might help you get some recognition in your local press –

  1.  Become a National Dance Week Representative.  You will receive a press release announcing your status that you can submit to your local news media outlets, as well as a certificate stating your status to display in your studio.  Representatives are invited to share all of the events they organize in celebration of National Dance Week through the NDWF calendar of events and social media channels.  For more information on becoming  a representative, please visit
  1. Cross produce an educational event – free to the general public – with a local orthopedic or sports medicine professional to discuss safe training or injury prevention for dancers.  You should choose someone who’s philosophies are in line with your schools to best promote both programs. has a list of clinical professionals who are knowledgeable about dance.  This might be a great place to build a new collaboration.
  1. Have your company or competition teams perform at hospitals, nursing homes, veterans’ organizations or other service minded venues.  Take some great pictures and then submit them to the local press after the event.  Make sure you have releases from everyone in the pictures and if your dancers are from other towns, submit to their local papers as well.
  1. Participate in the NDWF Dance Mob. Short on time, use the choreography available free on the National Dance Week website.  Draw some attention to your dancers by having them wear the eye catching 2015 Dance Mob Tee Shirts available with your company or studio name printed on the back.  Gain more publicity afterwards by capturing your group on video and participate in the Dance Mob competition.  For more information, check out

A Special Thank You by Cathy Graziano Executive Director

udma-logo-twitter1Curtain Call

National Dance Week Foundation is honored to thank both Curtain Call Costumes and UDMA for their donation in the name of Patrica Goulding

National Dance Week was formed in 1981 by a group of dance related organizations who began a strong “grass roots” movement across the United States to bring greater recognition to dance as an art formTighe King of Tighe Industries/Curtain Call Costumes was one of the founding companies and then in 1991, UDMA  made the commitment to National Dance Week as a part of a campaign to actively encourage the growth of Dance in America.

The “grass root” aspect of NDW continues and is, in fact, largely the reason for the tremendous growth. Over the years NDW Spokespersons have included: Chita Rivera (1994), Gregory Hines (1995), Paula Abdul (1996), Gus Giordano (1997), Ann Reinking (1998), Shirley MacLaine (1999), Debbie Allen as Celebrity Spokesperson and Joe Tremaine as the Education Spokesperson (2000), Sandy Duncan as Celebrity Spokesperson and Luigi as Education Spokesperson (2001) and Ben Vereen as Celebrity Spokesperson and Jo Rowan as Education Spokesperson (2002).  The 2003 Spokespersons were Fayard Nicholas as Celebrity and Jo Rowan as EducationSpokesperson followed by Tommy Tune as Celebrity and, once again, Jo Rowan, as Educational Spokespersons for 2004. The famed Radio City Rockettes® served in fine fashion as the Celebrity Spokespersons with Frank Hatchett as Education Spokesperson, for 2005 and 2006. With tap and jazz having been so ably represented through our national spokespeople over the years, the 2007 Celebrity Spokespersons, John O’Hurley and Charlotte Jorgensen brought the American Ballroom presence into the NDW celebration while the Classical Ballet field was represented by the 2007 Education Spokesperson, the esteemed David Howard. The 2008 National Representatives are continuing that same balletic presence and bring the prima ballerina to the forefront with the illustrous Cynthia Gregory as the Celebrity Spokesperson. Another who has taken her bows as a principal is the highly respected Roni Mahler who is serving as the Education Spokesperson for NDW 2008.

NDWF is dedicated to honoring all dancers, choreographers, teachers, students and inviting all to “Celebrate Dance and Promote Fun Fitness”


Is Dance A Sport? NOT!

Image: Sharen Bradford,

Image: Sharen Bradford,

It’s an age old question, talked about more today because of all the dance competitions and TV shows.  A recent article in the Huffington Post put it all in prospective for me.  For a long time I was of the opinion that dance was not a sport, it is an art form. And this article confirms it for me.  In sports there are winners and losers.  The players are in it to win.  Dancers dance for many reasons.  Unless they are participating in a competition, they are not dancing for the trophy.  Dancers dance because of how it feels.  And what is the definition of a dancer? One who dances.  This is the long, graceful ballet dancer, the earthy, weighted modern dancer, the interpretive hula dancer, the fiery tango dancer, the elegant ballroom waltzer, the street wise hip-hop dancer, the person with Parkinson’s dancing for life, the high kicking Rockette, the musical comedy gypsies,  the injured using dance for therapy, the kids in the creative movement class, the sexy Apache dancer, the couple dancing in the kitchen as they make dinner, the father dancing with the bride, the recreational dancers and the serious dancers.  We are all dancers at some point in our lives.

Dance is one of the oldest art forms. It was how we first communicated.  It tells a story. It evokes responses.  Audiences are not required to like it or understand it. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t.  But we have to get past judging the tricks and allow ourselves to feel.  When you are moved by how it feels to dance you soar, and when you are moved by what you see it becomes theatre and allows for the “willing suspension of disbelief” and transforms into pure magic.

Here is a link to the article in the Huffington Post:


west parl_12259 aSusan Epstein was a dancer, educator and choreographer before becoming a consultant in the dance merchandising and event business.  She holds a BFA in Dance from SMU and did graduate work at CWRU and is on the board of NDWF.  Visit Susan’s website at



Dancer’s Inc – Dance Power Award by David Palmieri

As the CEO of Dancers Inc., one of the leading Competitive Dance companies in the US, David Headshot CroppedI’m no stranger to the competitive dance environment.  Dancers Inc. hosts events from coast to coast, and meets thousands of talented kids from a multitude of incredible dance studios all over the country.  I’m also a dedicated dance Dad, with two daughters who have been dancing collectively for over a decade. I’m heavily involved in their dance education at their studio, as well as fully invested in how they prepare, preform and conduct themselves at competitions.

Being a dancer takes dedication, drive, and determination. These are the lessons Dancers Inc. strives to pass along to all of our participants as they perfect their dance craft.

I can relate to the desire to instill a level of commitment and dedication in young dancers. At Dancers Inc., we try to play an active role in our competitors dance education by incorporating unique dance experiences, tailored to broaden their perspective. We provide an inspirational and positive performance environment. Competing and learning dance is not an easy task; for the dancer, the teacher, or the parent. It’s called a discipline for a reason. It’s hard work. In order to achieve your goals you need passion, drive, and above all, the willingness to accept criticism and take corrections.

At Dances Inc., we use the Dance Power Award to honor and recognize both individual dancers as well as dance studios who we feel help promote the same ideals that we strive to impart to every dancer that walks through our door, or steps on our stage.

Dance Competition

Thank You

There are times in our lives when we are privileged to follow in the footsteps of a true inspiration and difference maker.  As many of you know National Dance Week Foundation is near and dear to my heart because of its ability to encourage and motivate others in the community to celebrate their love of dance. It is a truly an inspiring foundation created for and supported by anyone and  everyone who enjoys dancing.  For many years this was led by Patti Goulding.  NDWF wishes to express its thanks and gratitude to this inspirational difference maker who built and laid the foundation from which I am able to continue on.Patti Goulding

Patti Goulding, former Executive Director of National Dance Week, passed away on Monday, February 9. Many UDMA members know that while National Dance Week was still under the auspices of the UDMA, Patti worked tirelessly to spread the word of the benefits of dance, and take the truly grassroots effort to be a part of many communities across the country.

She developed the regional delegate program, recruited many of the celebrity and educational spokespeople that came on board, worked with Angelina Ballerina to develop a partnership, and got many non-dancing and dancing folks alike to be involved in National Dance Week events. Prior to coming to National Dance Week and the UDMA, she operated her own dance studio and raised her family in Pittsburgh, her hometown.

It has been my privilege and honor to carry on in the tradition that Patti has set for NDWF. Please join me to help make National Dance Week April 24-May 3, 2015 the best ever.

Cathy Graziano

Executive Director NDWF



My Journey by Cheri Eagan – NDW Committee Member and Art Stone Costume’s Texas Customer Care Representative

IMG_3079 (640x360)

I’ve always thought of myself as a good observer of Dance. As a child and young adult  my passion was Dance. Then I advanced into larger projects involving more than just Dance Education – the Dance Industry itself -the side that influences and supports the dance educator. I have been blessed to be one of the rare dance world citizen’s to have seen and personally visit hundreds of Dance Studios across Texas and Louisiana. I have been blessed to kindle relationships one on one with the most genuine men and women teaching our children today. I’ve listened to studio owners achievements, struggles, stresses , compassion and drive. are far advanced in their journey, some are just beginning

This is my journey. I’ve probably watched over 30,000 competition routines, having adjudicated for several organizations over my career. Along with over 20 years of producing recitals and other various community events. Wow have I seen Dance progress over the decades.

IMG_2815 (480x640) (2)I come from the age of Califone record players with variable speed, to Albums and Al Gilbert dance conventions. When bought albums, and could not listen to them before leaving the store.  We wore white jazz shoes and looked like a Jane Fonda workout tape. We could not go to YouTube to pick 8 counts.  Book keeping was ledgers and communication and advertisement was an ad in the local paper, and your yellow pages monstrous phone book.

One season as a studio owner I found myself struggling and needed something to give me a boost. It was in the 80’s. I discovered National Dance Week.  NDW was in its true grass roots beginnings so I had to figure out how to implement all these simple ideals with no resources. I decided to hold a free festival.

I began in January and I started to research dance studios that I wanted to invite to perform at the festival. I wanted a mix of different genres of dance so we had cloggers, we had Irish dancers, dance studios with the competition teams and the Arthur Murray dance studios with the ballroom dancing. I filled the day giving each organization a 15-30 minute window they could stand up and lecture about their studio, location and what they were offering to basically promote their businesses. Then I got a free banner donated from a costume company along with free marketing in the local newspaper and in a local magazine. I was able to get a family to donate $700 so that I could get a large tent. I borrowed Marley dance floor from a local dance studio. And the sound system was provided by the park that allowed me to do the festival. Our first festival was wonderful.

Moving into the second year to hold the festival I was contacted by Dance Teacher Magazine and they did an article on myself and another school in Arizona that held a lecture/festival for National Dance Week. It was so cool to be written up by Dance Teacher Magazine ….. that was a big deal for me.

Now I get to hold National Dance Week festivals in conjunction with my community’s Kids Fest –  a day where my city shuts down the entire downtown and they hold all these different activities with dogs, games, rides and activities. National Dance Week takes place on  the cultural arts stage and I hang a banner that’s been donated by Art Stone Incorporated. In support of National Dance Week Foundation we “celebrate dance and promote fun fitness” .  We invite several drill teams, dance studios, flamenco dancers and theater groups basically anything and all cultural arts performances. I’ve had the fortune to invite from the Houston ballet and draw people in from the city. I’m not charging these organizations to come perform.
I have guest speakers throughout the day, talk about dance and the importance it is to our health, our culture, our society and our everyday life. That is what National Dance Week Foundation is about and why you – the dance teacher should be more involved – this is your business.

Share your love. Share your art. Use this free tool to your businesses advantage. For me my biggest reward is to see the children that participate that never get to go to dance competitions that never will be superstars in their studios but for a brief moment they are on that National Dance Week festival stage. There’s no pressure for them there’s no award or trophy or critique at the end of the day. There’s just the joy in their smile and the success of what they accomplished that day. That brings my heart great joy!

What I am encouraging is for everyone and anyone to do something in their community no matter where you are in this world or in the United States or in a little one stop sign town get involved in a small way. Like me!
Remember it is for the love of…… DANCE!!!


To Dance Honest is to GIVE by Founder & Co-Owners, Paula Dell-Beasley with Jill S. Reeves, Fusion National Dance Competition


Dance provides many wonderful benefits to those who choose to participate.  Physically, mentally and socially, children and youth, in particular, are able to learn and grow from this expression of art.  At Fusion National Dance Competition, we believe everyone is unique, yet at the same time, we all share the same passion for dance.

During our conventions and competitions, it is a time where dancers can come together; no matter what studio they belong to, because of the passion we share for dance.  Even more so, we come together in hopes to GIVE instead of TAKE.  To explain this concept further, think of dance like a flower.  We give things to a flower in order for it to grow, such as fertilizer, sunlight and water.  If we take these things away, the flower dies.  The same is true with dance.  We must GIVE to dance in order to grow.  If we just dance in order to receive a medal or trophy, we are just taking.

Through our attitudes, our time, our sacrifices we give to dance which allows for growth.

Basically, to dance honest means to GIVE not to TAKE.  When we see that true passion and love for dance, we see an individual who doesn’t care about the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”.  We see an individual who has found true happiness in what they have been given the opportunity to do and therefore we see a dancer who is GIVING.

At Fusion NDC, we utilized the Dance Power Award at our Fall Conventions by allowing our faculty to select dancers who exhibited “the honesty of dance”.  Dance Power was received by dancers who exhibited passion, energy, and excitement just because they were taking the opportunity to GIVE!

We love to see dancers GIVE and we hope to continue presenting the Dance Power award in recognition of those dancers who exhibit the “honesty of dance”!

Dance Competition

What Dance Means To Me by Melissa Hoffman – Melissa Hoffman Dance Academy

melissa hoffman headshot colorWhen tasked with the question “What dance means to me” the simple answer is “Dance it life!”  I could write for days all the different ways dance has positively influenced my life, but I will focus on one of my personal loves and that is being able to teach and influence the growth of our youngest dancers age 2.

Twenty years ago when I chose to begin teaching two year olds many of my dance peers thought I was crazy to attempt to teach kids this age.  Initially I thought maybe I was crazy!  But, I soon learned how rewarding teaching this age can be!  Think about it, you get to act crazy for 45 minutes; and the crazier the better.  After all to teach a two year old you need to be one!  This age believes you are the best thing they know, no matter what you do!  I cannot say how many days I have arrived at the studio, forcing the smile on my face and within 10 minutes of teaching this group the smile was genuine.  The amount of growth in terms of gross motor skills and social skills that can be gained at this age continues to amaze me!

Let’s talk how teaching this age can help business!!  I choose to teach the two year olds with a parent there to help in the process.  This is a great opportunity for them to get to know me as a teacher and person, not just a name on the door!  I am fortunate that we have a 97% retention rate with these classes.  Thus, teaching the next generation to love dance!