In honor of National Dance Day, attendees at a Dance-a-Thon Saturday afternoon in Vail will have a chance to learn seven types of dance, everything from country line dancing to Memphis Jookin’, and ballet to Broadway. And even if you know for a fact that your 90-year-old grandma has more rhythm than you do, not to worry, you should still attend this fundraiser, said Martha Brassel, the manager of the Vail International Dance Festival and the event organizer.
“This is your day to discover your groove,” Brassel said. “Because we are offering so many different types of dance, at least one of them is bound to click.”
The cost of the event is $20.13 and attendees have been busy asking for pledges for the event as well. Participants have been encouraged to raise at least $100.
Prizes will be awarded to the top fundraisers, including posters, backpacks, Vail International Dance Fest Fan Club Membership, meet and greets backstage during the Dance Festival (which kicks off Sunday), an invitation to a private dance festival rehearsal, dinner with cast and crew from Dance TV, lunch/dinner with festival artists-in-residence Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild from New York City ballet and more. The top prize is worth $2,000.
Proceeds from the event will be split between four local nonprofit arts organizations: the Dance Festival as well as the Vail Performing Arts Academy, Friends of the Dance and the Youth Foundation’s Celebrate the Beat program.
Among the artists taking to the streets to dance with participants will be New York City Ballet stars and 2013 VIDF artists in residence Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild, as well as Memphis Jookin’ sensation ‘Lil Buck’, fresh off his year-long tour with Madonna and currently featured in Cirque du Soleil’s new “Michael Jackson One” show in Las Vegas.
“Every 20 minutes, we’ll change to a different style of dance,” Brassel said. “We’ll lead with line dancing, go into ballet, then go into Memphis Jookin’ with Lil Buck, then Celebrate the Beat, etc.
At the top of every 20 minute segment, one of the groups will feature a dance to give the audience a flavor of that genre of dance, and during the next 17 minutes, we’ll quickly learn a more simple version of that dance that everyone can do. It’ll go fast.”
The event will end with two dance routines developed by the Dizzy Feet Foundation, the founders of National Dance Day. A group of advanced local dancers will perform a hip-hop routine to the song “Live It Up,” by Jennifer Lopez, and everyone will learn how to do the “Everybody Dance” routine set to the song “Treasure,” by Bruno Mars, a dance that Brassel calls a “combination cha-cha, hustle kind of dance.”
The Matt Harding component
If you’ve never heard of Matt Harding, then look up his viral videos on YouTube, which show him dancing (he’s an amateur, so don’t expect Damian Woetzel-style moves) with people in countries around the world.
The Seattle resident was hired by Visa to star in its Travel Happy campaign. He’ll be at today’s event.
“Last October, after the Dance Fest, one of the volunteers sent me his video and said ‘oh, I think you would love this,’” Brassel said. “Of course I did. I sent it out to the Dance Fest staff and Damian said, ‘this guy is so cool, we should get him to the festival.’ And so we embarked on a journey to find Matt, and he’s not that easy to find.”
Harding’s version of the story is a little more simple: “They called, I answered. Sounded like fun,” he said.
Most recently, Harding was on a whirlwind tour in May.
“I went around the world twice in May,” he said. “France, Tanzania, Ireland, Australia, Malaysia, Brazil, Budapest, South Korea, India, New York, San Diego, Alaska. More time in the air than on the ground. My head is still spinning.”
At the festival, Harding will be “learning some new moves from Dance Festival performers,” he said.
And he will also be filming a video, he confirmed, which means event attendees might have a chance to end up on his next video.
“I would say so, yes,” he said.