Festivals, concerts and large gatherings are canceled during the coronavirus pandemic, but you're still invited to a dance party. The location: your living room!
Mark Kanemura, a former backup dancer with Lady Gaga and contestant on "So You Think You Can Dance," is using Instagram to bring together his 663,000 followers for daily virtual dance sessions while people are being asked to help slow the spread of the coronavirus by staying indoors.
"I am in the same boat. Everything that was lined up got canceled and postponed," Kanemura told TODAY. "I’m stuck at home and there’s not much I can do, but one thing I can do is these dance parties and connect with people."
Kanemura, who is based in Los Angeles, hosted his first virtual dance party on Thursday and has been throwing one every day since.
"For me to be able to connect with people in a way that inspires other people to connect and let off some steam has always been very important to me," Kanemura said.
Before the dancing starts, Kanemura takes a few minutes to check in with everyone who is joining him on Instagram to see where they're from and how they're doing. After that, he puts on upbeat music and lets loose. People are welcome to copy his moves, jumping up and down, snapping, shimmying and clapping. Or they can freestyle around their rooms.
An Instagram user named Chantal, who asked that TODAY only use her first name, shared a video of her 3-year-old daughter Julia wearing an Elsa dress and dancing during one of Kanemura's parties.
“I have been following Mark for about a year and I love his energy and spirit," she said. "We recently canceled our trip to Disney World and my 3-year-old was very sad she wouldn’t get to meet Elsa. We saw the dance party and I knew it would brighten her day."
Kanemura said dance has always been like therapy to him. During a time when many people are feeling anxious or uncertain about what to expect with COVID-19, he said he's happy to help bring together a community every day for five to ten minutes of fun and togetherness.
Everyone is welcome and can find out when the next party is by following him at @mkik808.
“People can expect wigs, fans, confetti and a lot of really great pop music," he said. "Oh, and they can expect to sweat!"