After almost two tough years living through a global pandemic, we all could use some joy this holiday season. Dancers and artists are uniquely equipped to help people feel a sense of pleasure and enjoyment again by tapping into their particular talents and skills. From teaching, to performing, and even creative directing, there are plenty of innovative ways dancers can give back and spread some holiday cheer this year:

1) Go (dance) caroling

Who said you have to sing to go caroling? Grab a crew or go solo to put on a holiday-themed performance at places like nursing homes or care centers. Be sure to follow all local health and safety rules - maybe the audience can watch you through windows or you perform in outdoor courtyards. Everyone deserves to see a holiday show this time of year, so flex those creative muscles!

2) Teach a free dance class

‘Tis the season to give more generously! If your area is allowing live dance classes, offer to teach a holiday dance class for free at a local community center or library. While you may not be paid in cash, offering your time and experience while creating a fun space for those who may not usually get to dance is priceless.

3) Teach a donation-based class

If you’re not able to teach those in need directly, you can still send something meaningful their way using your unique talents. Try teaching a dance class (either live or online!) where you donate all or a portion of the proceeds to a charity. You could also talk to the charity about what they need and have your students bring items to donate as part of their fee for class.

4) Go through your dance closet 

It’s probably time you cleared out your closet anyway! Do a winter cleaning to donate dance costumes or any gently used dance clothing and shoes to local studios, community centers, or schools who could use the supplies. Even if it’s one pair of tap shoes, that small donation could inspire someone to dance!

5) Volunteer at a holiday performance

You don’t always have to dance yourself to give back. Most dance companies are non-profit organizations and usually in need of dance volunteers to help out at the box office or as ushers. Even local dance studios may benefit from extra help at their holiday shows and recitals. Send some emails and make some connections - and enjoy the performance!

6) Create a promotional dance video for a local charity

Non-profits could always use more promotion, especially around the giving season, and what better way to capture some attention than a fun dance video? Contact a local charity and see if they’d be interested in partnering with you to create a free promotional dance video for social media. It’s a win-win: you get to give back and get creative, while they potentially reach more donors or generate interest in their services!

If you’ve been feeling low after the rough two years we’ve had as a collective, focusing your efforts outward could help you feel more connected to your community while inspiring hope and joy all around. You don’t even have to spend money to give back - simply sharing your gift and love for dance can bring others a source of happiness during the holidays, so please do! We could all use more holiday cheer this year.

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