Ever since she could twirl, my daughter has loved to dance. She’s evolved from a bitty ballerina wearing tiny slippers into a real one with pointe shoes who has perfected her pirouette. So when I realized that we would be the National Dance Museum on our vacation through the Northeast, we knew we had to stop.
She loved it. That wasn’t a surprise. What was a bit more unexpected was how much my husband and I enjoyed it. Also surprising: it is the only museum in the nation and one of the few in the world that is dedicated entirely to the art of dance.
“Baseball is a ballet without music.” – Ernie Halwell
That quote is part of The Dancing Athlete exhibit, and it got the attention of both my daughter and her baseball-loving bonus dad. (Interesting, that quote was also on the wall at the Baseball Hall of Fame, which we visited later in our trip.)
This exhibit draws the connections between dance and sport, and does so in a captivating way. I appreciated that it covered such a wide range of sports, from early skiing to basketball to tennis to boxing. I also loved that they had the costumes from Charlie Davis and Merrill White’s gold-medalling winning ice dance performance at the Olympics.
Our other favorite exhibit was Dancers in Film, which “celebrates the relationship between dancers and film, and features both well-known dance stars and our favorite actors who have had world famous dance roles on the silver screen,” according to the website.
Other exhibits featuring stunning costumes (including a breathtaking one from The Firebird below), shoes, and props from historic performance, as well as videos and photos and other memorabilia.
For little ones
There is a children’s wing for young children to play and move around freely, as well as a stage where they can practice their moves.
Not all dance
The National Museum of Dance is housed in a building that use to be the Washington Bathhouse. It’s an Arts and Crafts Style building from 1918 and a few rooms have been recreated to give visitors an idea of what the historic bathhouses in Saratoga Springs, New York, were like. It was really interesting, and the architecture of the building is lovely.
Where is it
The National Museum of Dance is located at Saratoga Springs, NY. It’s not far from downtown, which is idyllic and worth strolling.
They vary based on season. Check the website before you go.
The museum seems to be a hidden gem. On a weekday morning in June, we had the museum almost all to ourselves. It’s pretty small, so a few hours should be plenty of time.
Seniors & students (with valid ID): $5
Children 12 & under: $3
Children under 3: free
Images from National Museum of Dance.
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