WASHINGTON – There was lots of dancing going on in the White House on Monday as first lady Michelle Obama invited 51 Washington student dancers to celebrate Black History Month through the art of dance.
The students performed dances in the East Room choreographed by the famous dance artists. Debbie Allen’s group performed with her.
Obama told the crowd of her love for dance and reminisced about taking dance lessons in middle school.
“I think it’s probably my favorite art form. In fact, for years, Judith’s picture from ‘Cry’ was the only piece of art that Barack and I had in our first condominium,” she said of the solo piece Jamison danced as a member of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.
Obama highlighted the contributions African American women made to dance. The celebration was a part of the White House Black History Month theme – “Honoring the Past While Celebrating the Present; 7 Years of Living African American History.”
But the students weren’t the only ones there. African American dance icons Debbie Allen, Judith Jamison, Virginia Johnson and Fatima Robinson joined Obama and the students to teach the history of African American dance.
“We are all honored – honored – to have you here at the White House,” Obama said. “This has just been an amazing day.”
Obama and the students discussed topics including self-confidence, hard work, health and overcoming adversities.
Actress La La Anthony was there to ask Obama questions, followed by questions from students and their parents. That part of the event was closed to reporters.
“La La is amazing, isn’t she? She gave you all some words of wisdom that were – I hope you all were listening,” Obama said later during remarks before the dance performance.
Obama ended the event by thanking the families of the dancers and everyone who participated celebrating Black History Month at the White House.
“Let’s not just celebrate Black History Month in February, let’s celebrate it every single day of every single year for ever and ever and ever,” Obama said.
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Download photos: WH-dance.zip