Free: National Dance Day Downtown

Want to shake it alongside hip-swaying strangers? The happy day is nigh.

Excluding clubs and theaters and football stadiums and bars, where can you dance in public?

People find places to shake it, sometimes covertly, sometimes not. Shoppers twirl next to the granola bars, when a classic disco song comes on the market's loudspeaker. Pedestrians will kick up a heel when a passing car blasts a ballad. And hundreds of happy hoofers? They show up at Grand Park and the Music Center on the last Saturday of July.

That's National Dance Day, here in Southern California and locations far beyond. Nigel Lythgoe, co-creator of "So You Think You Can Dance?" founded the stomp-your-feet spectacular in 2010, and it has been growing in spark-a-latude ever since.

Yes. Spark-a-latude.

That's because dancers from every dance background, and absolutely no dance background -- that's important to note, so note it -- show up on National Dance Day to learn a couple of routines and then perform them, under the sun, in the fresh air, as a whole. Indeed, the full group of strangers moves as one unit by the end of the event.

Beautiful, right? You can see why we trucked out "spark-a-latude" for the occasion.

The cost to join? Free. The clothing/gear required? Nothing special, just stuff you can shimmy in, without restriction.

You'll want to start in Grand Park at 10 a.m. then head for the Music Center for "salsa, hip-hop, lyrical, afro-cuban, and modern dance styles." Baby Loves Disco, a kid-nice happening, will meet in the Grand Park fountain.

Basically, come Saturday, July 26, both the downtown park and adjacent Music Center will be afizz -- yes, afizz -- with frolicsome movement and joyful dance. It's a day meant to promote dance, of course, and all of the health and happy-making benefits found within.

Yeah, you can probably get down to that, even if you're not a person who shakes their stuff in the grocery store. But you totally are, right? We've seen you. Don't be shy.

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