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Message from the President

Purpose of NHDA

The NHDA is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, and scientific/medical purposes, including for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.

Mission of NHDA

The National Hand Dance Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, and scientific purposes. The National Hand Dance Association’s mission is to preserve, educate and promote the art form of hand dance locally, nationally and globally. Hand Dance is the Official Dance of Washington, DC by Resolution of the DC Council. The National Hand Dance Association is recognized by the Smithsonian Folklife Division and Hand Dance as a folk and traditional art. Hand Dance is a contemporary swing style partner dance which began in the communities of Washington, DC during the 1950s. Hand Dance is a 50 year cultural and traditional social dance indigenous to Washington, DC and surrounding areas. The Association’s programs have a dual focus, hand dancing as a cultural art form and as a community service. Hand dance is currently represented by its’ active members through demonstrations, presentations, school programs, and outreach to the community, promoting a fun health and wellness option for all ages to include the youth, young adults and Seniors. More importantly, the Association presents the history of the legendary, social partner dance through a national archive using oral histories, archival video footage, archival and current and memorabilia, raising awareness of its’ history and evolution from Lindy Hop to the various styles of hand dance, and its impact within the dance community. While the NHDA has its core promotion and market in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area, it fully promotes inclusion of individuals, groups and organizations throughout the country that support the 6-8 count swing element, which also profess similar historic African American roots, dance styles and movement as hand dance – The National Hand Dance Association can uphold its charter as an organization with a national focus.

1. Promoting Hand Dance as an art form through classes; demonstrations, performances; dance competitions in and around the Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas, Nationally and Internationally through the creation of historical archives to tell the story of hand dance and use tape-recorded oral histories, photographs, memorabilia and other materials in school programs, publications and exhibits to educate the public and to increase awareness of this art form;

2. Preserving and protecting the African American art form of Hand Dance in order to maintain its historical value, ethnic pride, and cultural context as an African American art form;

3. Educating the public about the African American art form of Hand Dance through documenting the history and evolution of Hand Dance in the Washington Metropolitan area, Nationally and Internationally through oral, written and visual media; to include publishing articles, journals and other educational materials and archiving materials and information;

4. Utilizing Hand Dance as a community service; e.g. engaging in activities that benefit the local community, using the art form to promote fitness; exercise and fun; focusing on youth and seniors; disadvantaged groups, churches; and other nonprofits entities through workshops, seminars, demonstration and performances at health fairs, expos, festivals, in schools, nursing homes, and senior citizens centers;

5. Support hand dance classes either directly through workshops and classes offered by NHDA or in conjunction with NHDA groups, affiliates and/or chapters;

6. Provide special emphasis and focus on youth(ages 7-19) and young adults (ages 20-30) to ensure the continuation of the art form and to encourage learning, health and fitness creativity and positive activities and outlets;

7. Work to impact and encourage high standards for Hand Dance in and outside of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area to promote and encourage etiquette and fun in the social dance environment; and

8. Serve as a clearinghouse which supports and promotes all elements of Hand Dance including area Hand Dance Classes, social events, public outreach projects and presentations; and supports programs, activities, and events sponsored by its individual members and affiliates organizations .

President’s Vision

To continue to Preserve, Educate and Promote Hand Dance as an artform, as is proclaimed to be the Official Dance of DC by Resolution of the DC Council and is recognized by the Smithsonian Folklife Division as a folk and traditional art.

Preserving the Dance

We will continue to provide the community with presentations and showcases through our Community Service Projects by preserving the many dance styles of the 50s and 60s through our Classic Dancers while showcasing our Youth and Young Adults by bridging the generational gap and teaching them dance so that they can take it to the next level.

Educating the Community

Through our many programs and projects, educate the community on the importance of maintaining the legacy, traditions and culture of hand dance through documenting and archiving the history of hand dance. We will continue to hold oral presentation and historical interviews with “Legends” and “Pioneers” within the Hand Dance Community. We will reach out to those who teach classes to provide the education and history of hand dance to their students.

Promoting Hand Dance

Through our Public Relations and Marketing efforts, we will continue to publicize our projects and programs through every social media, passing out flyers, sending out calendars to our membership and by word of mouth. The more people are informed the more they will support.

Future Initiatives

As there are many dance styles circulating and leading the DMV, we need to reach out and collaborate with this organizations and groups and invite them to participate in educating the community of their dance style. Since Hand Dance is the official dance of DC, we are experiencing an influx of new dances that are being learned and taught in the DMV, ie West Coast Swing, Chicago Steppin, Detroit Ballroom and others. All these dances are a partner swing-style dance with a common 6 count. The leads and follows are a little different depending on the beat and are driven by the music. While we must continue to preserve the Artform of Hand Dance as our official dance, we should be open to other dances.

We will work hard with those venues that host hand dancing since some major venues have changed or closed. We have to work with the many DJs on how we can bring the music together to satisfy all dance styles.

As we continue to forge forward with the mission of the National Hand Dance Association, the hand dance community is hereby challenged to bring your ideas forward and together so that everybody can eat of the same plate. Allow everyone pick their choice of dance and remember, Dancing is Healthy, Sociable and above all Fun! The only way your voice can be heard is if you are a member. As our young people are taking hold of this dance and adding their own flavor to it, it becomes the “WOW” factor and adds excitement and enjoyment to the audience—it’s called the “New Generation”. Our main focus will be to nurture our young people and educate them on hand dance as to why it’s important to keep the dance alive as a historical and traditional “lifestyle”. Engaging our young people to learn hand dance indicates there is an “evolution” about the happen. Many requests including grants and other agreements, are seeking our young people. We will reach out to our DJs, to include ways to entertain our young adults by teaching our young DJs the music of the day and by reaching out our main venues who host hand dancing to provide a place for them to dance. The old school don’t want to hear and dance to new school music, and the young don’t want to hear and dance to old school music. It’s called finding a “balance” for all. We will continue to promote our young people and provide educational support by hosting projects and programs through our Youth and Young Adults Division.