National Dance Day was launched in 2010 and was celebrated in July before this year, making it easy for Ashlyn McDonald, one of two drum majors for the 2019 edition of the MVs, to celebrate the holiday with her dance studio at home in Fairfax, Virginia. As of 2019, however, National Dance Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in September. Rather than give up an opportunity to dance, Ashlyn decided to bring the celebration to Blacksburg, and who better to dance with than the MVs?
The organization behind National Dance Day, American Dance Movement, publishes a video tutorial of the official National Dance Day dance, which is choreographed by a different professional dancer every year, to a song also chosen by ADM. This year’s song was Electricity, by Dua Lipa. The goal of Ashlyn’s celebration was to teach any willing MVs the official 2019 National Dance Day routine! Twenty-five especially dedicated MVs were in attendance, including a fun-loving mom who was in town this weekend for Fall Family Weekend.
Ashlyn divided the dance into sets of eight-count moves to make it easier to learn. After a demonstration of the whole dance, she started to teach her class the moves. The first rule of the occasion was to have fun above all else, and that’s just what the group of MVs did. Laughs were exchanged constantly among the group as everyone learned the dance.
After an hour and a half of hard work, the routine was complete! At the end of the routine, however, Ashlyn was struck with inspiration. Given that we are the Spirit of Tech, she decided to add a little something at the end: the Hokie Pokie! The transition from the published routine into the Hokie Pokie was flawless and included the famous “whoo!” to start it off. After two practice runs of the full dance, the MVs were ready for the real thing! With Ashlyn at the front and the fast-paced music turned up loud, the group danced the routine all the way through, including the Hokie Pokie, as a video was taken.
After the video, there was a big group hug, and everyone gathered for a group photo. Laughs and smiles were exchanged as each dancer struck a pose for a silly picture. As I waited patiently with a camera for everyone to finalize their silly poses, I realized something. This kind of event is what makes the Marching Virginians a unique group of people. Ashlyn held this event out of her love for dancing and her desire to share that love with other people. Members of the Marching Virginians (and their moms, roommates, and friends) came to this event to laugh, dance, and have fun, as well as to meet new people or get closer with their peers. This was such a positive, wholesome day for everyone involved, and I genuinely hope that this was the first of many annual National Dance Day celebrations for the Marching Virginians; bands that dance together, stay together.