President's Day: These First Ladies of the U.S. Welcomed Dance to the White House
A brief reminder to us all: President's Day is an American holiday, which occurs on the third Monday in February that was originally established to recognize the late George Washington's birthday, who was the first President of the United States. In later years, Presidents' Day became known as a holiday to honor former presidents and the current one in this country.
By honoring Presidents' Day today, we are acknowledging the First Ladies of the United States who welcomed dance to the White House.
First Lady, Dolley Madison (1809-1817)
First Lady of the United States, Dolley Madison, was the wife of the fourth President, James Madison. Her public social presence was said to be the cause of her husband's popularity as president. Dolley is considered to be the first lady who introduced social dance to the White House-- a social dance called Waltz. This genre of dance is a ballroom and folk dance style with a romantic lift to it. Before this type of social dance in the 19th century, men and women were never seen dancing together publicly.
First Lady, Michelle Obama (2009-2017)
In February 2016, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a Black History Month program by inviting young African-American dancers from across Washington, D.C. and widely-known choreographers to the White House for a dance workshop. Master classes were taught by iconic dance figures: Debbie Allen, Virginia Johnson, Fatima Robinson and Emerita Judith Jamison. The dancers learned choreography in the styles of African, hip-hop, modern dance and ballet. The young girls practiced hard and prepared for a performance in the East Room of the White House.
First Lady Michelle Obama delivered this message on her Instagram: "We have the power to keep reaching higher and defying the odds until a black principal is no longer a cause for headlines and our children are limited only by the size of their dreams and their willingness to work for them."
A total of 51 girls performed in the White House during Black History Month and it was quickly approaching Presidents' Day in 2016.