Dance Day (or Dansens Dag in Norwegian) is celebrated all over Norway. Every year Norway joins with the rest of the world to promote dance on International Dance Day, 29th April. However, Norwegians love dancing so much that the closest weekend is also included and so we get to have a whole week of dancing – parties, socials, tuition, concerts and performances.
The main goal of Dancens Dag is to get dancing noticed and the best way to do that is to get it out there in unconventional places – in the streets, shopping centres, town halls and lookouts. One year we even had music blasting throughout the city library as a bunch of us social danced the afternoon away.
In Tromsø, all the social dance studios get together and host events around the city. We put on free dance classes in various styles of dance, demonstrations in the streets and a series of dance parties. Last year I had a special clinic for Dicso dancing (yes, that’s me above with the afro!) – John Travolta eat your heart out! I taught dances that are not known in Norway – the Bus Stop, Electric Slide and Nutbush – as well as some newbies – The Groove, The Step, The Cupid Shuffle and even some good old Saturday Night Fever moves.
This year (today), as the weather was wet, we took to the shopping centres. The Rueda Group Casino Royale, Tromsø Salsa Club, UIT Dance Club, Salsademika and Dans på Roser all joined together for demonstrations of Casino Rueda, Salsa, East Coast Swing, Modern Jive, Cha Cha and Merengue. The concept was ‘no performance required’ – meaning straight social dancing. ‘Casual’ is what Norwegians do best and so the atmosphere was just like a social night at the studio – I loved it. Even at five months pregnant I was still able to give the competitive dancers a run for their money…lol. I also was able to teach some of my students a couple of new steps on the dance floor while the shopping crowd watched on.
The music was so good people couldn’t sit down and even Lilu and her friend had to get up and shake their booties – (they were still wearing their snow boots.)
The best part is it’s not over yet – tonight we have a dance concert at Tromsø University with the Very Good Big Band, Hovedøen Social Club (a Latin band that have converted old Norwegian folk songs into Salsa dance music) are playing at the culture house and then we have a Latin dance party at Cafe Sånn to welcome in the next morning. But of course the celebrations don’t end there – the culture school have their annual performances, as well as other dance courses and parties throughout the week.
(A tip for outlanders: One of the best ways to dive into Norwegian society and make new friends is by going to a social dance club. As well as tuition nights and socials they also have outings and parties, nightclub hubs and even dance holidays. There is something about dancing that makes everyone your friend and so what better way to get over your culture-shock than to have a great night out dancing and socialising with the locals. Plus, you might also get fit while you’re at it too!)
So heres wishing you a ‘dansende hilsen’ from Norway!