Palmetto Art Center joins National Dance Day celebration

mvalverde@bradenton.comJuly 28, 2012 

PALMETTO -- Gretchen Leclezio wants Manatee County residents to do at least three things today.

"Get up, turn the music on, and boogie," says Leclezio, owner of Palmetto Art Center.

July 28 is officially the third annual National Dance Day and festivities celebrating the day are scheduled in California; Washington, D.C.; and several Florida cities. Palmetto is no exception.

The Palmetto Art Center will join the annual celebration for the first time by hosting a two-hour Zumba-A-Thon/Dance-A-Thon starting at 10:30 a.m.

Leclezio says the event is part of a grassroots initiative aiming to get people to express themselves, be physically active and stay healthy.

The movement was started by Dizzy Feet Foundation, an organization founded in 2009 by actress Katie Holmes; Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of the dance competition show "So You Think You Can Dance;" and others.

The Dizzy Feet Foundation is hosting a large outdoor dance celebration in Los Angeles, where participants will be led in hip-hop and Zumba dance routines.

In Palmetto, people of all ages, with or without dance skills, are invited to participate in the local celebration.

"It's a two-hour dance party for all fitness levels," said Leclezio, who also is a licensed Zumba instructor. "We are hoping that this may spark a light in someone trying to get back in a fitness regime."

Bertha Alvarez, also a licensed Zumba instructor, said Zumba is driven by Latin music and participants can anticipate moving to the beat of Spanish music.

Hip-hop, swing and oldies also were mixed into the routines.

"I think it's wonderful," said Kae Edington, 49. "We are an obese society, but anyone can do this, it's fun. If everyone would just go out and dance we would be a healthier society."

Edington plans on attending the Palmetto Art Center event. The Palmetto resident danced ballet for years and encourages others to dance. "It keeps me way young," she said.

The Palmetto Art Center is at 907 Fifth St. W. Tickets for the celebration can be purchased at the center for $10.

Miriam Valverde, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024.

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