You Can Dance by Lisa Atkinson on Throwback Thursday

This joyful tune was recommended by member Liz Hannan, it is by the late Lisa Atkinson.

Liz Hannan
Liz Hannan

Lisa Atkinson’s music came to me when my voice teacher, Laurie Johnson, attended a CMN conference at Walker Creek in Petaluma in the early 90’s and brought me some of her cassettes. I was teaching music in Catholic Schools and Laurie knew Lisa’s collection would be a real gem in my treasure trove of music.

That year I did Lisa songs in all K-8 classes and featured them in the spring concert. When parents asked how to encourage their child’s love of singing I suggested they get Lisa’ collection. Eventually this song became a hit in all 5 Catholic school where I taught.

In 1997 my friend and I created a Summer Theater program for approximately 70-90 3rd through 8th graders  and a handful of high school student coaches. We ran the theater every summer for several years with You Can Dance as the gathering and closing song every day. Sometimes the students would spontaneously create a song circle and pretty soon everyone joined.
It was pure magic every time!

The pastor saw us one day and requested that I have the Children’s Choir sing it at church. That Sunday 75 children flooded the steps in front of the altar as we sang and danced to Lisa’s classic song. Now THAT was prayer…!

Just a couple of years ago I began working in a Montessori preschool where a former student was teaching. She had been part of the summer theater both as a student and then as a high school coach. She requested I teach You Can Dance to the preschoolers.
She is turning 30 next week and still glows when we remember this song.


  1. Such a great song! I just learned of Lisa talent by researching songs for “From the Archives.” So very musical!

  2. I, like so many others, miss Lisa so much. A bright shining star gone too soon. What a songwriter, singer, person of much worth.

  3. This is a glorious song! Liz Hannan just led it at our Northern California CMN Regional event.
    I also recall Lisa leading it at CMN Conferences. Wonderful memories.

  4. Thanks for this lovely song, Liz. I met Lisa only once at a CMN conference. She was quite sick, but her voice and presence were light, joyful and magical.

  5. Ah … angel kisses! Beautiful post and SO good to remember this wonderful song and the dear singing angel that is Lisa Atkinson! I’m sure she’s smiling and singing along in Spirit from whatever choir she hangs out with these days ~!

  6. What a wonderful, joyful and infectious song to bring to the worlds attention. Lisa was such a special person as well as singer-songwriter. Thank you, Liz and Alina!

  7. How can I buy the music to this song?

  8. So blessed to have met Lisa at CMN. Her spirit will stay with me forever….

  9. Lovely – but I can’t understand the lyrics. Would anyone care to share, please?

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