National Dance Day was first celebrated in the District of Columbia and Los Angeles in 2010.
In 2012 and every year since, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has introduced a congressional resolution to designate the last Saturday in July as National Dance Day:
National Dance Day has become a grassroots movement when Americans across the country host local events celebrating dance for fun and exercise. The contribution of National Dance Day to healthy lifestyles makes dance do double duty in a nation that wants to be fit and loves to dance.
Americans’ have a longstanding fascination with black dance. Indeed, Harlem’s legendary Savoy Ballroom was a featured exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair.
The Savoy Ballroom was the first integrated ballroom in the country. Like jazz, swing dancing helped paved the way for the Civil Rights Movement. The jazz culture allowed black and white people to see each other and dance together. More important, blacks were social peers. For a good read on the history of swing, check out “Queen of Swing” Norma Miller’s biography Swingin’ at the Savoy: A Memoir of a Jazz Dancer.
Now 96, the grande dame of swing is scheduled to perform at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival on Aug. 22, 2015.