April 29 is International Dance Day!
The Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute, UNESCO founded International Dance Day in 1982 “to celebrate Dance, to revel in the universality of this art form, to cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers and bring people together with a common language - Dance.” April 29 was chosen as it was the birthday of ballet pioneer Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810).
Each year a message from an internationally renowned dance artist is circulated, and the Canadian Dance Assembly also issues a message. This year’s Canadian missive is from bboy Luca ‘Lazylegz’ Patuelli who delivers an inspiring message of dance as an inclusive, accessible and universal art form:
"No matter what age, race, sex or ability one may have, everyone can dance. Dance is within all of us. Some choose to share it with others and some choose to keep it to themselves. Life is a dance whether we know it or not. We are constantly dancing with every movement we make, with every breath we take, and with every beat our hearts make, a rhythm is being created. It’s the slightest movements that make the greatest difference in a performance, just like in life it’s the little things that matter. Dance is the connection between you and the universe; while we are dancing we are developing ourselves based on the energy, the emotions, and the challenges we experience. It is up to us to determine how we want to communicate our dance to the world. Dance is the ultimate form of self-expression and it is the escape that always reminds us that everything is going to be ok. Dance challenges us to surpass our limitations by discovering strength within. So, live your life to the fullest and dance beautifully!"
Flamenco sensation Israel Galván’s international message is full of vivid images and ideas:
"Carmen Amaya, Valeska Gert, Suzushi Hanayagi, Michael Jackson...I see them as energy-generating turbines and this makes me think about the importance of choreography on that energy of the dancer. The important thing is probably not the choreography, but specifically that energy, the whirlwind which it triggers.
"I imagine a Tesla coil attracting them all and emitting a healing ray and causing a metamorphosis in their bodies: Pina Bausch as a praying mantis, Raimund Hoghe converted into a dung beetle, Vicente Escudero into a stick insect and even Bruce Lee into a centipede.
"I danced my first duo with my mother, seven months pregnant. It may seem an exaggeration. Although I almost always dance alone, I imagine that I am accompanied by ghosts which make me abandon my role of "dancer of solitudes". Did Didi-Huberman not mean to say: of soleares songs.
"When I was small I didn't like dance, but it was something that came out of me naturally and easily. Almost instinctively. Over time I realised that dance healed, it had an almost medicinal effect, it helped me to not be so introverted and opened me up to other people."
Here in Vancouver, we’re celebrating International Dance Day with a program of free events at different locations around downtown, featuring local bhangra, capoeira, swing and contemporary dance artists, as well as a cohort of enthusiastic high school students who have been working on a Bollywood-flavoured dance routine. And don’t forget to check out our new International Dance Day video, which highlights the diversity of our dance scene and how dance brings people together.
Wherever you are on April 29, we hope you will also take a moment to watch, think/talk about, or participate in the art of dance!
International Dance Day events take place in Vancouver on April 29: full details.
Photo: Thoenn Glover's impact winter, by Chris Randle.