Next International Dance DaySaturday, 29 April 2023
International Dance Day takes place every year on April 29. It recognizes and celebrates the role dancing has as one of the oldest and most valuable forms of entertainment. It can be found in nearly every culture around the world and brings communities and people together. The day is sponsored by the International Theatre Institute, the performing arts partner for UNESCO.
History of International Dance Day
The International Theatre Institute (ITI), established International Dance Day in 1982. They chose April 29 as it marks the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), a leading figure in the world of dance and referred to by many as 'The Shakespeare of Ballet'.
International Dance Day has been officially recognized by UNESCO with the ITI formally named as creators and organizers of the day's events. As a result events are planned and carried out throughout all the member states of the UN, however due to Covid-19 most of the events in 2021 were held online.
As well as celebrating dance, International Dance Day encourages all dance forms and educates people on the cultural, historical, and social value of dance. International Dance Day also gives dancers a platform to promote their work and their art on a global scale, to raise awareness about the importance of dance as a means of expression and community.
Every year an official message is given by a famous dancer or choreographer to inspire both dancers and non-dancers. In 2021 the message was written by the German ballet dancer Friedemann Vogel who said:
Everything starts with movement – an instinct we all have – and dance is movement refined to communicate. Much as flawless technique is important and impressive, it is ultimately what the dancer expresses inside the movement that is the essence.
As dancers, we are constantly on the move, aspiring to create these unforgettable moments. Regardless of the dance genre, it’s what every dancer strives to achieve. So, when all of a sudden, we aren’t allowed to perform anymore, with theatres closed and festivals cancelled, our worlds come to a standstill. No physical contact. No shows. No audiences. Never in recent history has the dance community been so collectively challenged to stay motivated, to find our raison d’être.
Yet, it is precisely when something precious has been taken away from us that we truly appreciate how vital it is what we do, and how much dance means to society at large. Dancers are often celebrated for their physical prowess, when in fact we are sustained even more by our mental strength. I believe it is this unique combination of physical and psychological agility that will help us overcome, to reinvent ourselves to keep dancing, and to keep inspiring.
How International Dance Day is celebrated
The ITI marks International Dance Day by hosting a Gala Celebration which is hosted by a different city every year. The Gala consists of professional and student dance performances from around the world, speeches, and the reading of that year's message. ITI Centers across the world also host dancing and educational events in their own countries meaning there are plenty of opportunities to take part in the celebrations.