This weekend marks the third annual “National Dance Day”, an idea first conceived by Nigel Lythgoe
of “So You Think You Can Dance
The goal of the National Dance Day is to “generate national awareness for dance, a medium of expression and storytelling which, through shows like So You Think You Can Dance, has proven its value in bringing individuals from all walks of life together through a positive platform that has no boundaries and cultivates imagination and passion. Most importantly, the day is intended to promote health and wellness nationwide.”
Part of the celebration for this year includes paying tribute to four influential choreographers – Isadora Duncan, José Limón, Katherine Dunham, and Bob Fosse.
The US Postal service will issue Innovative Choreographers stamps to honor these influential dancers:
– The stamp design for Isadora Duncan shows her seemingly effortless style that paved the way for modern dance. Radical for its time, her linking of movement and expressiveness garnered her worldwide critical acclaim.
– Shown in a performance pose in the stamp, José Limón frequently drew inspiration from history, literature, and religion, and used natural movement and gesture in his choreography. His virile, powerful works elevated the importance of the male dancer in modern dance.
– Founder of one of the first African-American dance companies in the United States, Katherine Dunham was the first choreographer to develop a formal dance technique that combined Caribbean and African dance elements with aspects of ballet. She is shown in a pose from her critically acclaimed ballet L’Ag’Ya.
– Bob Fosse, celebrated for directing and choreographing musicals on both stage and screen, is shown on the set of Sweet Charity (1969). Fosse received one Oscar, three Emmys, and nine Tony awards during his career. Yet perhaps his greatest contribution was in making dance accessible to millions.
People often ask me, “Who was the first to inspire you to become involved in dancing?” I can name several people, but the most significant were Gene Kelly
and Danny Kaye
I found this video that has several of the most well-known dancers from the last few generations. Hope you enjoy it!
Who are the men and women that inspire you? Leave your comments below.
Remember to keep dancing!