#WhyNotWednesday: National Women’s Health and Fitness Day

Why walk when you can Prancercise?

For this week’s version of #WhyNotWednesday, we’re celebrating National Women’s Health and Fitness Day. (Did you know that’s today? I, for one, did not. Google helps those who help themselves.) Let’s take a quick video tour of dance-related fitness—because we all know dance is mega-athletic, don’t we?

First, a flashback to Misty Copeland’s awesomely inspiring ad (“I WILL WHAT I WANT”) for Under Armour. Today might be #nationalwomenshealthandfitness day, but I’m calling 2015 The Year of Misty Copeland.

We definitely can’t forget Prancercise, a “springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse’s gait and…ideally induced by elation.” As dance teachers, you’ll definitely be able to get the mechanics of Prancercise down in three shakes of a (prancing) lamb’s tail. Plus, you will definitely be ogled by your neighbors.

Okay, admit it. You spend way longer than you should in your dance clothes. We all understand—sometimes it’s easier to keep the studio gear on than it is to take it off and change outfits. These ladies (members of the Australian comedy troupe Skit Box) have a slightly different problem—they wear their activewear to do everything but exercise.

Alright, enough silly stuff. Know someone who’s skeptical about just how athletic dance is? Show him or her this video, of the 2015 Batsheva Ensemble performing artistic director Ohad Naharin’s Decadance. I saw this show last night at The Joyce Theater in New York City and was blown away by the skill, endurance and total fierceness of every woman (and man) onstage.


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Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

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Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

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