Dance Legal on National Mall for One Day

By Matt Fitzpatrick
|  Tuesday, Jun 7, 2011  |  Updated 6:38 AM EDT
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The U.S. Park Police have launched a formal inquiry into the forceful arrests of five people who were dancing at the Jefferson Memorial. As Darcy Spencer reports, some say the actions of the officers were inappropriate.

The U.S. Park Police have launched a formal inquiry into the forceful arrests of five people who were dancing at the Jefferson Memorial. As Darcy Spencer reports, some say the actions of the officers were inappropriate.

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No Dancing at the Jefferson Memorial

Don't plan on taking your dancing shoes to the Jefferson Memorial -- or any other memorial for that matter. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District upheld the arrest of a woman in 2008 for quietly dancing inside the Jefferson Memorial.
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Looking to dance legally on the National Mall? 

After people's recent efforts to dance at the Jefferson Memorial, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s office announced Monday that a National Dance Day will be held this summer.

Norton, “So You Think You Can Dance” producer/judge Niger Lythgoe, the Dizzy Feet Foundation and the Larry King Cardiac Foundation are hosting the event, which will be held on Saturday, July 30. 

“The spontaneous Mall Flash Mobs we have seen are a virtual call for more participatory activities and events on the Mall, but not to worry,” Norton said.  “We have a permit for National Dance Day on July 30, including for a Flash Mob dance that people here and all over the country are now practicing for.  Everybody will be dancing -- legally -- on July 30.”

NBC Washington previously reported that five dancers were arrested at the Jefferson Memorial on May 28 and charged with demonstrating in a restricted area.  Then on June 4 the same five dancers were back, as were more people from as far away as California.

After a similar dancing demonstration in 2008, a woman who was arrested fought the charges saying that low-key dancing was protected as free speech, but courts ruled dancing was a demonstration, which is banned inside the nation’s memorials.  The U.S. Court of appeals agreed with that decision in May.

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