Artur-You-can-Dance-Poland-so-you-think-you-can-dance-1529077-495-480.jpgDance enthusiasts are putting on their poodle skirts and bowties and heading out to several free dance classes and events offered across the Bay Area beginning on Friday.

Bay Area National Dance Week, an annual event for local dancers, brings together dance companies, schools and artists for participants to perform their own choreography and others to attend one of nearly 600 free dance events across the Bay Area.

The event is part of its nationwide counterpart, National Dance Week, which began in 1981 as a way to increase awareness of dance and its contributions to the U.S.

The Bay Area activities began almost 20 years later, shortly after local dancers started talking about it in 1998.

The week’s festivities will begin Friday afternoon with One Dance, a flash mob event bringing together dancers and non-dancers who take over San Francisco’s Union Square and perform three-minute choreographed pieces from noon to 1 p.m.

One Dance kicked off last year with almost 700 people attending and hundreds more participating in related activities, according to BANDW organizers.

Other events include Rodolphe Cassand’s story ballet, The Fairies, performed by the Cassand Ballet School and Company in Mountain View at 7 p.m.

Another option is a Chinese workout class, offered by China Dance School and Theatre in San Francisco at 10:30 a.m.

Although the BANDW has the word “week” in it, the activities will in fact run nine days, ending on May 1.

For a full list of free events and classes, visit

Saul Sugarman, Bay City News

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