Quit the Day Job: You Could Be Dancing

Posted July 23, 2010 at 6:17pm

If you find yourself gravitating toward the dance floor during happy hour or frequently busting a move on random street corners or in parking lots, you might consider quitting your day job.

So what if you’ve never heard of grand allegro, fouettes or pique arabesques?

Dance/MetroDC, a nonprofit that supports and promotes local dancers and companies, is looking for “closet hip-hoppers,” as it notes on its website, and those with an “inner Baryshnikov” to gear up for its fall dance contest, “Should I Quit My Day Job? Dance Off.”

Think Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” and ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” minus the decades of training. This competition is for rookies only, those without professional training but with a passion to groove.

Dance/MetroDC, the group that created a series of YouTube videos that teach various dance combinations for flash mobs, is hoping to recruit some folks from the Hill for the competition, said Peter DiMuro, Dance/MetroDC director.

Staffers, lobbyists, Capitol Police officers and interns are all invited. Groups that enter will team up with local choreographers, who will create three-minute dances for the assembled groups of friends, co-workers or family members. Be prepared to take on anything — Bollywood, two-step, hip-hop, flamenco or modern dance.

DiMuro said groups will practice once a week in a space that’s convenient for them — perhaps a conference room, reserved gym space or maybe even an empty office in one of the Capitol complex buildings. He said it’s up to the dancers.

Those with stage fright or two right feet may still find a reason to join: They’ll be raising money for a charity of their choice. DiMuro said each group will select its own charity and raise money throughout the weeks that it rehearses and performs. He predicts each group will make $4,000 for its charity.

“It’s a duel effort,” DiMuro said. “This is about how movement can be a movement. It’s dancing for fun and for a cause. It shows that dance is a viable vehicle for change.”

Groups will demonstrate their progress in a preliminary performance on Sept. 15 and receive feedback from professional dancers and choreographers.

Starting in October, the contest may get heated. The final competition is scheduled for Oct. 6, and all groups will perform their dances at the Harman Center for the Arts before a panel of judges. Winners will be rushed backstage for full makeup and costumes and will perform that night at the 10th Annual MetroDC Dance Awards with the top dancers in the region. DiMuro said winners could dance with artists from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Shakespeare Theatre Company, CityDance Ensemble or even New York City’s Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

DiMuro said those interested should act fast. Dance/MetroDC only has space for 10 groups of 10 to 15 people. It will take groups on a first-come, first-serve basis. To register, contact info@dancemetrodc.org for an application by Aug. 6.