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National Dance Day is July 31: Dizzy Feet Foundation celebrates with choreography

It’s a dull weekday in your office — that is, until an infectious background beat demands attention.

Before long, cubicles anchor hip-hop moves. Jazz hands surround drab filing cabinets. You dance a Tahitian routine with a usually somber co-worker.

And somehow, it’s all done with perfect choreography.

Sound like a familiar daydream?

Dance has retained a spot in popular culture, even amid the rise of trash-talking reality TV.

Sure, there are overtly musical shows like “Glee.”

But primetime comedies like “How I Met Your Mother” have experimented with song and dance numbers, too.

Then, of course, there are reality TV dance competitions: heavy-hitters like “So You Think You Can Dance,” “America’s Best Dance Crew” and “Dancing with the Stars.”

Fans of “SYTYCD” will tell you Saturday is National Dance Day, a celebration that has its own official choreography. Learn the dance by clicking on the video that accompanies this page. The effort is led by the Dizzy Feet Foundation, a group whose founders include familiar faces from reality TV dance shows.

Maybe we won’t all hold hands and dance in hip-hop unity on Saturday.

However, the day is a reminder that an interest in dance isn’t limited to body contortionists with blisters on their feet.

“I’m just the layperson that really enjoys the show,” said “SYTYCD” fan Melanie Miller, 38, of Columbus. “It’s just amazing how emotionally invested you can become.”

Gotta dance

Crying from a dance routine — for a reason other than being bored to death?

Fans say many reality TV dance shows can generate that reaction.

“These are showing the more artistic side of it,” said Michele Rogers, 36, a Columbus dancer and choreographer.

With the right choreography, hip-hop dances can tackle relationship dilemmas. Contemporary routines can depict terminal illnesses.

“I love to see dancers not just dance, but also perform,” said Antonio Agyemang, 26, a local choreographer, dancer and actor who once auditioned for “SYTYCD.”

The prevalence of reality TV dance shows also means choreographers have acquired some level of public recognition.

Shane Hall, a 30-year-old performer and choreographer at the Springer Opera House, thinks that’s a step in the right direction.

“Sometimes it becomes thankless, hidden work,” Hall said of choreography, He auditioned twice for “SYTYCD” and is owner and artistic director of Prodigy Dance Centre in Columbus.

Passing trend?

Television’s obsession with dance isn’t just a temporary fad.

In fact, Miller said she now prefers “SYTYCD” to “American Idol.”

Still, some fans wonder if the deluge of dance-related programming — everything from weight-loss shows to Paula Abdul’s upcoming CBS series — might drain the trend’s appeal.

“I think they have to kind of mix it up a little,” said Agyemang, whose choreography includes shows at the Liberty Theatre.

Hall would like to see more TV shows that take a behind-the scenes look at dance studios. He also suggested a series about cruise ship performers.

While shows like “SYTYCD” and “DWTS” have garnered Emmy nominations, their future counterparts might not focus on quality.

“After a while, people are going to just start throwing things together,” Rogers said.

For now, Rogers is content with the social lessons she’s taken away from “Glee,” as well as the focus on discipline and determination that surrounds “SYTYCD.”

She can’t say as much for “Jersey Shore,” which begins its second season tonight.

“What did we learn from that besides fist pumping?” Rogers said.

Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at ssorich@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8516.

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