June 2005 was a turning point in ballroom dancing when Dancing with the Stars first aired in the United States. Ballroom dancing was already beginning to see a resurgence in movies, like Dirty Dancing and Strictly Ballroom, when the ballroom dance competition show hit the airwaves, but Dancing with the Stars catapulted ballroom dance into virtually every home in the United States. People wanted to learn to dance and charities saw the opportunity to use dancing for a cause.
Dancing with the Stars not only showed how much fun ballroom and partnership dance is, but it made dancing cool again. While the majority of dance students tended to be women in the years up to 2005, once dancing with the stars premiered, the number of couples and single men coming in to learn how to ballroom dance skyrocketed. And when Emmitt Smith won the mirror ball in the third season, and declared that winning the dance competition meant as much to him as winning the Super Bowl, ballroom dance as a cultural phenomenon took off.
The concept of dancing with the stars made it a perfect partner for charities. Cities around the country began sponsoring their own versions of Dancing with the Stars with local celebrities and area dance teachers to raise money through dancing for a cause. For almost 10 years now, National Dance Clubs has partnered with Feed America First for their annual Dancing with the Nashville Stars event. This evening of dinner and dancing has shared not only the gift of dance, but has allowed Feed America First to provide millions of meal to middle Tennesseans over the years.