Local dancers represent Alabama in ‘Dancing Across America’

Published 11:15 pm Thursday, January 21, 2021

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To celebrate the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the dancers at Patti Rutland Jazz in Troy were virtually “Dancing in the Street!”

The Patti Rutland Jazz troop in Troy was selected to represent Alabama in the “Dancing Across America” video that celebrated Inauguration Day 2021, said Patti Rutland-Simpson, who co-owns the dance studio in Troy with Ryan Miller.

Dancers from all 50 states and the Virgin Island were chosen to be represented in the video,” Rutland-Simpson said. “There were 30,000 entries, so to be selected was a tremendous honor for our dancers, who are the best dancers anywhere.”

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Rutland-Simpson said the idea for “Dancing Across America” was that of dance producer Kenny Ortega as a way to showcase America via dancers from across America performing the same dance, “Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas.
The video was a blended showcase of America and its dancers.

“Our studio chose to dance at the beautiful amphitheater at Troy University,” Rutland-Simpson said. “And, on such a cold, cold day. But our kids were so excited to have a chance to be a part of ‘Dancing Across America’ that they didn’t even notice the cold. But I sure did!”

The possibility that Patti Rutland Jazz/Troy could be selected from among all the Alabama entries was enough to make the butterflies flutter. But, when word came that the Troy entry had been chosen, the screams of joy could have been heard in the nation’s capital.

On the video, the kids from Troy appeared to be dancing with kids on the California beaches, at the Needle in Seattle and in wheat fields in Nebraska.

A wonderful blending of American, Rutland-Simpson said.

The “Dancing Across America” 3 minute-plus video was played on all the major works, CNN, MSNBC, etc.  and may be viewed on the Patti Rutland Jazz Troy Facebook page, prjdancetroy.