Planning Guidelines

“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.”

~Agnes De Mille

Download this Planning Guide as a PDF

Bring awareness of Down syndrome to your community. Host a 3…2…1…Dance! event. It’s easy and can be done by anyone, anywhere, anytime. Spotlighting the similarities and capabilities of people with Down syndrome, while having awesome fun, is the centerpiece of the dance. The added bonus? Raising funds to help people with Down syndrome lead full, purposeful lives. The National Down Syndrome Congress can help you with all the details of planning this unique opportunity.

Get ready to Bust a move!

Registration Terms (Please Click Here to Register Your Event)

To register as a host for a National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) “3…2…1… Dance!” event you must read and agree to the following terms:

  • This event may be hosted by one or more individuals or by a school or organization. If you are representing an organization or school you must affirm that you have the authorization to act on behalf of that entity.
  • The NDSC “3…2…1… Dance!” name is to be used solely for the express purposes of promoting this event for raising awareness and funds.
  • Net profits raised through this event will go to the NDSC, a current affiliate member of the NDSC, or any combination of these.
  • By signing the registration form, you agree to indemnify the NDSC, its agents and employees and agree to hold it and them harmless from any and all liability rising out of injury, illness or accident that might happen to any participant during the event and from damage that may be caused to any person or property during the event.
  • The NDSC retains the right to withdraw permission of its name and “3…2…1… Dance!” for any reason, expressed or unexpressed.
  • You recognize that the NDSC as a national organization has values and integrity that must be upheld and your event, in using the NDSC “3…2…1… Dance!” name will be representative of those standards and values as outlined in the NDSC mission and vision statements.

Creating Awareness

This is the most important goal of the event! If your committee focuses on this as priority #1, successful fund raising will likely follow.

Highlight self advocates as frequently as possible.

Here are a few tips:

  • Advertise your event with a poster from the We’re More Alike Than Different awareness campaign.
  • Create posters from the We’re More Alike Than Different awareness campaign using local self advocates’ pictures and information.
  • Hire a DJ with Down syndrome for the dance.
  • Throughout the event invite self advocates up to the stage where a 15-20 seconds of their biographical information is read.
  • Empower self advocates to form their own teams made up of friends and family.
  • Have self advocates on the planning committee; listen to their ideas of how to make the dance more meaningful.
  • Use the More Alike Than Different PSAs in local media and invite media to your event.

Raising Funds

If your group decides to host an awareness event only and not do any fund raising you can skip this section. However, creating a competitive, team spirit atmosphere through fund raising can enhance excitement about the event. If you decide to charge admission for the event to cover costs we request that you do not charge self advocates an admission fee. Our goal is that self advocates can participate without cost.

  • Hand out brochures with pledge forms early and repeat the message often: “If you collect at least $10 in pledges to turn in at the door you will get into the dance at no cost.”
  • Recognize the three highest fundraisers.
  • Raffle off items that are of high interest such as MP3 players, DVD players, bike, etc. Try to get these items donated by a local business so your profits are higher .
  • Use an on-line fund raising tool such as Fundly or First Giving. Encourage self advocates to set up their own pages and share them with friends and family around the globe. This will also create broader awareness.
  • Concessions can be a big money maker. Include favorites like pizza, soda and chips.
  • Have a local celebrity present who will then dance with an individual for $5 per song. Have a sign-up sheet for time slots at the door.
  • Have song requests and shout-out forms at the door at $1 each, but limit shout outs to about twenty so as not to overwhelm the music.

Important Information About Safety

Preventing accidents is completely impossible, but planning can help.

  • Have several water stations around the room to keep dancers hydrated.
  • Make sure the venue or your organization has the proper liability insurance in place.
  • If a lot of self advocates will be attending you might want to consider having a RN or another medical professional present.
  • Chaperones are necessary in school settings.

Tips for choosing a DJ

This may be the most important aspect of the dance: if the music isn’t good dance music no one will have fun. A DJ may also be your biggest expense so you want him or her to be great!

  • Make sure that the DJ has good sound equipment, a large music collection, and good references.
  • Bonus: It’s really awesome if you have a local self advocate who is an experienced DJ.


For additional information on the National Down Syndrome Congress and 3…2…1… Dance!, please email us at