National Dance Day event set for Saturday in Big Rapids

Participants in the 2016 National Dance Day celebration in Big Rapids follow the instructor’s lead. (Courtesy photo)

BIG RAPIDS — Local residents can join a nationwide celebration without leaving town by participating in the National Dance Day event on Saturday at the bandshell in Big Rapids.

National Dance Day, which takes place on the last Saturday in July each year, was created by Nigel Lythgoe, producer of the television show “So You Think You Can Dance.” The event is a celebration of dance which aims to encourage people of all ages to incorporate dance into their lives, according to the Dizzy Feet Foundation website. Lythgoe also is the foundation’s co-founder.

Locally, the celebration will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, at the bandshell, located in Hemlock Park behind Big Rapids Middle School. Janitza Sawyer, who teaches Zumba lessons for the city, organized the event.

“I chose to bring National Dance Day here because I already teach in Big Rapids and dance is a big part of my life,” Sawyer said. “I wanted to share that with passion and joy with the Big Rapids community.”

All ages are welcome to participate in the free dance event. No dance experience is necessary.

“It’s for everybody,” Sawyer said. “Kids, adults, elderly — anybody can join. The dances we’re going to do are adapted for any type of dance level, even if you’re younger or older.

“You’ll be able to follow the dance steps even if you have two left feet. I wanted to make it as friendly and achievable as possible so everybody has a good time even if they’re not an experienced dancer.”

Water will be provided. Dance formats will include Zumba, Old Skool and Groove. These formats feature all participants doing the same series of movements.

This is the second year Sawyer has organized a National Dance Day event in Big Rapids. Event updates will be posted on the Facebook page National Dance Day – Big Rapids, MI.


Posted by Candy Allan

Candy is the Pioneer's associate editor. She also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Parenting pages. She can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at

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