The National Hand Dance Association’s growth has been impressive since I took office at the end of 2008 and re-elected in 2011 for another two year term. It is my obligation to see the organization grow and prosper in its efforts to live up to its mission to “Preserve, Educate and Promote” the art form of Hand Dance.
Many don’t know the “behind the scenes” work done on a daily basis to keep NHDA and Hand Dance not only in the forefront of social dance, but also on the radar screen of cultural arts institutions, as Hand Dance is a cultural and traditional art form. Here are 10 of the many achievements made through NHDA:
- NHDA sponsored six youth and young adult Hand Dancers to participate and compete at the prestigious U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships in California. (2009)
- The Humanities Council of Washington, DC awards NHDA in 2010 their “Grantee Award” for preserving the history of Washington, DC.
- NHDA was accepted as a member of the United Black Fund. UBF provides its members with outreach programs to promote growth and stabilization as a non-profit organization. (2010)
- Grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to continue documenting the history of Hand Dance, and for the production of the NHDA documentary “Hand Dance: A Capitol Swing”. The documentary made its public debut at a screening at the Chateau night club in April 2011. This public outreach event also included a panel discussion, hand dance demonstrations by the new generation of hand dancers and a classic demonstration. DC Mayor Vincent Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton made an appearance at the event.
- NHDA presented “old school” Hand Dance and free style dances of the 1960s in the Smithsonian Institution Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC in their program “Rhythm & Blues: Tell It Like It Is” (June/July 2011)
- NHDA, its members and affiliates presented a Hand Dance program during the Southwest Arts Festival at the prestigious Arena Stage Theater in Washington, DC (Sept. 2011)
- NHDA received a grant from the District of Columbia to sponsor through NHDA affiliates free 8-week senior and youth Hand Dance workshops in DC Wards 7 and 8. (Sept. 2011)
- NHDA and its Youth and Young Adult Affairs Division, headed by 3rd Vice President Markus Smith has been invited to the Stax Music Academy in Memphis, TN in February 2012 to present youth and young adult Hand Dance workshops to introduce Hand Dance to the teens at the Stax Music Academy and students of Memphis public schools.
- NHDA and its Youth and Young Adult Affairs Division has been invited in Spring 2012 to present youth Hand Dance workshops to youth in New Orleans.
- NHDA is now a proud member of the United Way Campaign and the Combined Federal Campaign in fundraising for the continuation of our programs to introduce youth in the District of Columbia and surrounding area to the art form of Hand Dance as a vehicle for social growth and development. (July 2011)
We are proud of the accomplishments made and are seeking the support of the entire Hand Dance community in order to continue our mission in preserving Hand Dance and leaving a legacy for our new generation of Hand Dancers. Supporting growth and preserving the past will help to make that happen. As a non-profit membership organization, NHDA needs your participation, your voice and your support. We need you to help us in assisting and building Youth programs through the National Hand Dance Association. Your membership and your financial donations are needed, if for nothing else, then to keep young people Hand Dancing.
“It takes a Hand Dance village to raise a young Hand Dancer”