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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 9, 1998
                       REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                             The East Room

7:28 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. At the dawn of a new millennium, one of our greatest challenges is to make the most of our unbelievable cultural diversity. Tonight, we will see a very dynamic illustration of the value of this diversity. We'll celebrate the creative fusion of styles that is American dance.

Our culture has always been nourished by many streams. Even those who arrived on our shores with only the clothes on their backs have brought their rich cultural traditions. These traditions have merged in serendipitous ways, giving rise to uniquely American forms.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the aggressive, expressive flow of American dance. Tonight, we'll see several generations of dancers -- several generations -- demonstrate four evolving dance forms. As Hillary said, we'll see tap, Irish step -- for the Irish here -- the Lindy and jazz. We'll see a dance heritage that is diverse as our people. We'll see the historians and the rhythms of cultures all around the world. We'll see the longing, the adventures, the joys of the American experiment at work.

Our emcee and guide tonight is a young man whom Gregory Hines, no slouch himself at dancing, called "the greatest tap dancer of all time," Savion Glover. (Applause.) Savion, take it away.

Thank you. How long do you think it would take to learn that? (Laughter.) What a remarkable, wonderful evening you've given us all, a wonderful example of the rich cultural treasures we all carry forward with us into this wonderful new millennium. Thank you, Sevian. Thank all the dancers who are here tonight. I got an aerobic workout just watching. (Laughter.)

And we certainly can't forget the great musicians. Let's give them a hand. Come on. (Applause.) One thing we know is that playing this instrument is good for the heart. (Laughter.) Thank you, thank you all for joining us and good night. Bless you. Thank you. (Applause.)

END 8:54 P.M.EST