In 1920s Harlem, dancing couples at the Savoy pioneered an energetic form of swing dance called Lindy Hop that incorporated aerial moves and stylish spins. Decades later, D.C.’s slightly smoother take on the style, hand dance, would emerge at venues like Turner’s Arena and the Uline Arena. This afternoon, a who’s-who of jitterbugging old-timers and younger rug-cutters will twirl, teach, and discuss the current hoofing scene at a day of hand dancing events at Arena Stage, hosted by the National Hand Dance Association. Events kick off with a “flash mob” dance session on Maine Avenue SW, then briefly quiet down with a panel discussion featuring Lindy Hop legends Norma Miller, George Sullivan, and Sonny Allen, as well as hand dancers James “Sparky” Green, “Dancing Tony” Artis, Maxine Grant (shown), and Markus Smith. Later, performers will demonstrate movements like the Bop, Walk, Birdland, and Skate for hand dance veterans and newbies. Once they learn the history and the steps, all newcomers will have to worry about is not stepping on anyone’s toes.
The program begins at noon at Arena Stage, 1101 6th St. SW. Free. (866) 583-0780. nationalhanddanceassociation.org.