|Norton Wants More People-Centered Activities on the Mall, Including Dancing|
Norton Wants More People-Centered Activities on the Mall, Including Dancing
June 6, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC - The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today revealed two Norton efforts that she believes respond to the recent insistence of people to dance on the National Mall, an indication, she says, of public frustration with the underuse of the Mall for people-related activities. The Congresswoman, in conjunction with "So You Think You Can Dance" producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe, the Dizzy Feet Foundation and the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, will host National Dance Day on Saturday, July 30, 2011, on the National Mall. When the House returns from recess, Norton will introduce a resolution to celebrate National Dance Day on July 30th here and throughout the country. In addition, she will be meeting this week with National Park Service representatives concerning a section of her bill (H.R. 1972, the National Mall Revitalization and Designation Act) to enhance visitor enjoyment and cultural experiences on the Mall, which she thinks can be accomplished through administrative action. "We have made the Mall a pass-through to museums rather than a venue where jazz and string quartets, for example, can play during lunch and where permitting tables and chairs can encourage people to enjoy this magnificent green space," said Norton.
Norton, an avid proponent of healthy lifestyles, a dance enthusiast, and lover of popular and other dance forms, said National Dance Day will promote not only dance but particularly physical fitness across the country, in keeping with the First Lady's "Let's Move!" campaign. Last year, National Dance Day attracted several thousand participants to the National Mall, including former U.S. Olympic gymnast and co-chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Dominique Dawes, WKYS radio personality Jeannie Jones, and a number of area dance troupes and performers. Norton and Lythgoe intend to make National Dance Day an annual celebration on the Mall on the last Saturday in July.
Norton said she was glad that police showed restraint and avoided arrests of people dancing at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, but understood the frustration of some tourists who were cleared from the Lincoln Memorial for a period of time. A lawsuit, which would-be dancers lost in the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2011, and the arrests of dancers at the Lincoln Memorial last week have not stopped the desire of people to dance on the Mall, however. "When people go as far as Flash Mob dancing without a permit on the Mall, we should see such a response from the public as a wake-up call to make the Mall more with it," said Norton. "The spontaneous Mall Flash Mobs we have seen are a virtual call for more participatory activities and events on the Mall, but not to worry. We have a permit for National Dance Day on July 30th, including for a Flash Mob dance that people here and all over the country are now practicing for. Everybody will be dancing- legally- on July 30th."
National Dance Day will feature a variety of performances by local and regional amateur dance groups as well as a Flash Mob that will include participation by all who attend.