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National Hand Dance Association


The National Hand Dance Association (NHDA), is a non-profit 501(c)(3) membership organization formed in Washington, DC in 1994 and incorporated in 1996.  The Mission of NHDA is to "Promote, Educate and Preserve" the art form known as Hand Dance.


Hand Dance is an improvisational form of swing style partner dancing developed in the Washington, DC area in the early 1950s. The dance evolved from the early Lindy Hop and Jitterbug dance styles of the 1930s.  Hand Dance can vary from a 6 count to a 12 count dance depending on the various styles of the dance fueled by music ranging from music of the 1950s to today’s contemporary sounds.  Individual style and interpretation is key to the definition and understanding of the dance.


Hand Dance is the Official Dance of the District of Columbia by Resolution of the DC Council.


The National Hand Dance Association is a clearinghouse and resource of current and archival information on Hand Dance and the many activities associated with the dance and its culture.  Today, NHDA and the organization's members and affiliates promote Hand Dance through support and promotion of the hundreds of Hand Dance classes and workshops both locally and nationally, dance competitions, social events, cultural dance exchange and public education programs.


Through its Community Service, the organization has received special recognition for its presentations in dance and narration on the culture of Hand Dance from its beginnings as Lindy Hop to the various styles of Hand Dance from the 1950s – 1960s (also known as “Old School Hand Dance”), to the contemporary Hand Dance style (also known as New School Hand Dance”). 


The National Hand Dance Association’s programmings have been supported by the Smithsonian Institution, The Humanities Council of Washington, DC through The National Endowment for the Arts, and The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. 


The organization’s current President is Emmy Award Winning documentary producer Beverly Lindsay-Johnson.

Watch Past Performances

Video 12/31/2013: A Holiday Hand Dance

National Hand Dance Association dancers take the stage for a program featuring the art of hand dancing, a form of swing dance that first originated in Washington, DC, and high energy Freestyle dances of the 1960s and today.

National Hand Dance Association