Shining Star

Dane Dances is getting set to return to beautiful Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center Rooftop for its 17th season bringing together all ages, neighborhoods, and backgrounds for a free live music and dancing every Friday in August.

“I used to think that Dane Dances was just a music festival where people came and danced, but since joining the board [of Dane Dances] I really understand that the purpose of the event is to foster true diversity,” Dane Dances Publicity Committee Chair Jennifer Sharpe tells Madison365. “The theme of Dane Dances is ‘Get up, get down, get together.’ Since we’re in such turbulent times, you really get to see the humanity of people around you when you come out and enjoy dance and music together. Those are the universal languages throughout the world.”

Dane Dances Publicity Committee Chair Jennifer Sharpe
Dane Dances Publicity Committee Chair Jennifer Sharpe

Dane Dances is a nonprofit community organization conceived in 1999 by Madisonians who wanted to break down ethnic and racial divides and allow people the space to have fun and enjoy themselves outside of the social issues surrounding the community.

“It’s one of the best events in Madison, in my opinion, to bring out a diverse crowd not only in ethnicity, but in age and gender,” Sharpe says.

The series kicks off on August 5th, 5:30pm-9:30 pm, with two powerhouse groups from Chicago, BBI (who play the best dance hits 1950-2016) and Shining Star (Earth, Wind & Fire tribute band).

“This year, we have a phenomenal line-up featuring two bands for every Friday for the month of August,” Sharpe says. “Those first two bands are national bands and we are very excited about them as they help us kick this thing off.”
Dane Dances will also feature local favorites such as Primitive Culture, MadiSalsa, the Davis Family, V05, Kinfolk, and Grupo Candela.

Sharpe stresses that Dane Dances is still in search for volunteers at the event to be greeters and chaperones and more. Those interested can check out the web site.

“Dane Dances is growing. We definitely listen to the community for feedback from prior Dane Dances,” Sharpe says. “We were alerted that 5,000 people made it out every Friday last year, but some people couldn’t make it up to the rooftop. This year, on the first- and third-weekend Fridays, we will have screens that will hang over the side of the [Monona] Terrace so that people downstairs can see and hear the performance as well.”

Dane Dances
Dane Dances

Sharpe stresses that Dane Dances is a family-friendly event that celebrates diversity, promotes goodwill, and enhances the quality of life and health in our local community.

“Dane Dances is a great chance to really be and to engage in Madison. This is what Madison should and does look like, we’d just like to have more people join us,” Sharpe says. “It’s a fun event. It’s a great chance to come together.”