NEA’s First-Ever Virtual Dance Party Lifts Educator Spirits

In a first of its kind DJ takeover, DJ Spinna, DJ Spinderella, and DJ Rich Medina—three top celebrity artists—took over NEA Today’s Instagram account for a three-hour #dancebreak, dubbed “My 1’s and 2’s, for education justice on April 9 and graced thousands of educators from around the country with music to lift the spirits.

Social distancing has been hard. It’s hard on educators who were forced to take a crash course on virtual teaching, and especially hard on students and families whose daily routines have been upended. NEA’s #dancebreak was created for educators to make time and space to connect, celebrate, and dance.

“Music has always been the gateway to escapism in my opinion,” says DJ Spinna. “With this global pandemic at hand, everyone is under a great deal of stress in ways most have never seen in this lifetime…When I play music for the masses, I always see myself as performing a public service, it’s more than just entertainment. Music is healing.”

For DJ Spinderella the event was a “wonderful idea and my pleasure to be a part of. I always say ‘good’ music is medicine for the soul and I was honored to provide that for NEAs educators and members during these critical times. And If they’ll have me, I’ll continue to bring them uplifting sounds to take their minds away on these virtual dancebreaks.”

“Partnering with the NEA to present a moment of recognition for the educators and educational system workers across the globe was really special,” Rich Medina says, “because next to our medical and scientific professionals the educational ecosystem is where we put faith in the people who build up our children’s academic and social growth.”

He adds, “I’m more than thankful to be part of the celebration of American educators and their international brothers and sisters worldwide, and I’m honored to be doing so with my good friends DJ Spinna and DJ Spinderella, with the support of The NEA.”

And educators certainly felt the love with classic hits, including “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross, “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics, and “Oye Como Va” by Tito Puente.

The Hottest Party in Town

With no dress code or cover charge, thousands of educators were in full view with posts such as, “Massachusetts ESP in the house!!” from @arte_latino_of_new_england, “California teachers in the house!” from @msabcmom, and “Can I get some NCEA love!” from @angelenao.

Not only were education support professionals and classroom teachers getting their grove on, but so were aspiring educators, higher ed members, and retirees! It was an event fun for the whole family, too.

Noel Candelaria, special education teacher and president of the Texas State Teachers Association said, “I’ve got the whole family jamming out here in Texas!” Children also took over their parents Instagram account to share messages of support: “Good job! 😀 My mommy is a teacher. And we are dancing,” came from @kpettitsbjh.

Even in the midst of a virtual dance party, educators still had their students in mind. When DJ Spinderella dropped Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “September,” @pysomotch09 posted, “Won’t see students til September,” adding a crying emoji.

From the beginning of the set with DJ Spinna to the last hour with DJ Rich Medina—and from Washington State to Florida—educators made sure to show their appreciation for NEA’s #dancebreak.

“Thanks NEA for caring enough to give us some joy in these hard times,” said @jaydebrink.

@jazzyfitsme said in all caps, “Educators rock! Thank you NEA for helping to relieve some stress through music! I’m dancing to DJ Spinderella!”

@bookwoman222 said, “Many thanks to all the DJ’s and NEA for a great 3 hours of fine music and virtual solidarity with my Union family!”

“Thank you & all the DJs on this live today! For the music !!! It was healing,” said culturist_diva.

NEA recognizes the importance to pause for a moment and collect your thoughts, as this worldwide pandemic can be taxing. Remaining calm can help. If you missed the dance party and want to “shake your grove thang’, find each DJs playlist here: DJ Spinna, DJ Spinderella, and DJ Rich Medina.