Mark Your Calendars: Philadelphia Dance Day Is Back on July 27th

We caught up with Deborah Hirsch to find out what's on tap for this year's program.

PDD 2012 participants sweat it out at the Ethical Society // Photo via Facebook

Philadelphia Dance Day is back on July 27th! Are you excited?! For the uninitiated, PDD includes over 12 hours of nonstop dance classes to get the city moving. We’re talking salsa, hip-hop and pole dancing—and that’s just for starters. Oh yeah, and it’s FREE. Here’s a full schedule.

To find out what’s on tap this year, I chatted with, Deborah Hirsch, the super bubbly organizer of Philadelphia Dance Day and owner of Philly Dance Fitness. This is going to be her fourth year putting the event together, so she’s pretty much a pro at this point. Here’s your preview for all things PDD 2013.

What prompted you to start Philadelphia Dance Day?
Believe it or not, it was actually inspired by “So You Think You Can Dance.” My husband and I are huge fans of the show, so when we heard that they were promoting National Dance Day, we thought this would be a fun thing to start locally.

How has the event grown?
Back when it started, there were only a few classes and it’s really grown since then. This year, we’re going to have over 20 free classes and additional workshops in various studios all over the city.

Why dance?
There are a million reasons. First, I really think anyone can dance (and enjoy it), even if they’ve never done it before. There are tons of dance classes, like Zumba, where it is impossible not to have a blast doing it. And for me, fun is the key to a great fitness routine.

What kind of turnout are you hoping for this year?
Last year, we had around 300 people show up. This year I would love to see 400. Really, the more people who can come dance with us the better. I mean, what else are you going to do on a Saturday afternoon in July?

For those who aren’t dancers (or aren’t particularly coordinated), what classes are a little more beginner-friendly?
When I started this event, I really wanted to make it accessible to dancers of all levels. Even if a class is a little more challenging, an instructor will give options to modify certain moves to make it a little easier for people. Zumba and all-ages hip-hop might be the least intimidating for new dancers.

What about dudes?
The social classes like salsa, waltz, and SwingFit are good for men, although most of the classes are fair game. Last year, I even had some very secure guys show up to the belly dancing class!

Any new classes on the schedule?
Yes! There are a few kid-friendly additions this year, like Fam Jam, which is basically a class for kids and their parents. The class ends up being a big family party. There is also a new kids ballet class for five- to seven-year-olds that I’m pretty excited about. House Party Fitness and West Coast Swing are also some new this year.

What are you looking forward to this year?
Last year I was pregnant on Philadelphia Dance Day, so I’m looking forward to being a little more mobile this year. I’m also really excited about the evening social dance. It’s fun because everyone has a chance to try out (and show off) some of the dance moves they learned during the day. Plus, you get to watch professional performances.

Anything else people should know?
Bring sneakers, water and a towel. And a change of clothes if you’re planning to go to the social dance after because you are going to sweat.