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These days, I watch my favorite TV shows with the remote control well within reach. I “forward” through commercials and some of the content so fast that I miss some interesting stuff. For example, I missed a fun and healthy project sponsored by the Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) television show on ABC and Walgreens. I learned about it only because I enjoy listening to Amber Riley sing.

Amber Riley, ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Finale May 20, 2014 (credit: ABC via

On Tuesday’s season 18 finale, DWTS announced the winners (star Meryl Davis and her professional dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy) and showcased singing and dancing from this season’s competitors and others, as they usually do. Riley, DWTS’ last winner, helped end this season with a powerful and lively version of the song “Do Your Thing” that also closed out the “Dance Happy, Be Healthy” project presented by Walgreens.

For “Dance Happy, Be Healthy,” throughout the season, ABC posted short videos in which DWTS dance professional Louis Van Amstel instructs viewers on various dances, including disco, jive and salsa (starting with the video below). The idea is to give people, especially fans of DWTS, another way to connect with the show and be inspired to keep moving…or, as the site says “…(to) dance your way to a happier, healthier you.”

Kudos to DWTS and Walgreens for jumping on the dance show public health kick with shows like So You Think You Can Dance on Fox (premiering next Wednesday), which promotes National Dance Day (NDD) as the last Saturday in July and “…encourages Americans to embrace dance as a fun and positive way to maintain good health and combat obesity.”

This year’s National Dance Day is Saturday, July 26 and also uses instructional dance videos (available in June) to encourage people to learn, perform and share their dances with others. NDD also sponsors two National Dance Day events and encourages anyone interested to do their own NDD dance-themed thing. People of all abilities are encouraged to take part.

Pairing celebrity and dance to encourage health is a worthwhile and winning partnership! I hope they continue to do these activities for years to come!