Exploring International Dance Day on April 29

Exploring International Dance Day on April 29

Exploring International Dance Day on April 29

Share this news

Established by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), in partnership with UNESCO, International Dance Day finds its roots in the vision of celebrating dance’s universal language. 

24 April 2024

By Ishika Kumar

On 29th April each year, the world comes alive with rhythm and grace as International Dance Day takes centre stage. Far beyond mere entertainment, this celebration honours the profound impact of dance on our physical, mental and cultural well-being. From the halls of classical ballet to the vibrant streets pulsating with contemporary beats, dance unites us all.

A Rich History Of ‘Movement’

Established by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), in partnership with UNESCO, International Dance Day finds its roots in the vision of celebrating dance’s universal language. The chosen date, 29th April, coincides with the birth anniversary of the illustrious French dance innovator, Jean-Georges Noverre. His legacy, spanning centuries, continues to inspire dancers worldwide. 

Since its inception in 1982, International Dance Day has grown into a global phenomenon. Each year, a distinguished choreographer or dancer crafts a message embodying the spirit of dance’s unifying power. These messages transcend borders, reaching hearts and minds in countless languages across the globe.

Global Festivities in Motion

From bustling metropolises to serene villages, International Dance Day sparks a whirlwind of activities. Hosted by ITI in selected cities, flagship events showcase a dazzling array of performances, workshops and speeches. These gatherings serve as focal points for artistic expression and cultural exchange. 

Beyond the grand spectacles lies various grassroots initiatives. Open-door courses, exhibitions and street performances invite individuals of all ages and backgrounds to experience the joy of dance firsthand. Through these diverse engagements, the day fosters inclusivity and appreciation for the rich tapestry of dance forms that adorn our world.

More Than ‘Movement’

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, dance serves as a conduit for education and cultural preservation. From the classical elegance of Odissi to the spirited rhythms of Kathak, each dance form tells a story steeped in tradition. International Dance Day amplifies its significance in an ever-changing world, and transcends linguistic barriers, offering a universal medium for expression. As nations tackle socio-political divides, dance serves as a bridge, fostering understanding and empathy across diverse communities.

A Call to Action

As we celebrate International Dance Day 2024, let us heed its call to action. Beyond the festivities lies a pressing need for greater recognition of dance’s value within education and society at large. Governments worldwide are urged to prioritise the inclusion of dance in educational curriculums, ensuring its accessibility to all. Embrace the transformative power of dance. Whether in the grandeur of a stage performance or the intimacy of a shared moment, dance continues to inspire, uplift and connect us in ways words alone cannot.

IDD Celebrations In Pune

In conversation with Pune Pulse, Anjali Kukreja, a senior professional dancer, dance coach and choreographer with 20-plus years of experience, spoke about the significance of International Dance Day. Regarding the dancer community and people interested in dance, she said, “It is always great to remember to dance to express and not impress.” 

She also emphasised the importance of movement. She says “Movement is a gift and what better way there is to move, other than dancing? The gym, callisthenics etc. are all forms of exercise or workout routines, though in a safe manner. Dance can bring your mind to the present, with music helping you live freely and focus. Nowadays, dance movement therapy is considered an alternate therapy as well. For many ailments too, it helps with Parkinson’s etc.”

When asked about the upcoming IDD and how they plan to celebrate it, she said that she has been celebrating it for many years, by organising events, conducting workshops and promoting dance in the vibrant city of Pune. 

Commemorating the occasion this year in 2024, she is organising a Precursor and International Dance Day Celebration with Rishabh and Pooja, which is on 28th April. A day before IDD is the weekend and invites more participation from people across the city. There are 3 to 4 programmes and workshops lined up by Team Cornel Rithika, wherein the two pairs Kevin and Zohra, and Raghav and Genevieve shall conduct the sessions, including a bachata workshop. These will take place in TVDC (Tribe Vibe Dance Company), Erandwane. Participants who register can attend an after-party celebration in Jack n Jill at the Agent Jack’s Bar, Baner. 

Amit Valmiki is a 27-year-old professional break dancer and an old-school hip-hop dancer with over 10 to 12 years of experience. As IDD approached, Pune Pulse asked him about what the event means to him. For him, dancing is like oxygen; every day is a dance day. 

He says, “It is my passion for dance which translates into a commitment to good fitness level, getting up early in the morning and cultivating discipline in my life. It is daily work. I never knew I would teach and coach others. In my academy, ‘Smooth Moves Dance and Fitness’, in Koregaon Park, Pune, we teach Breaking (Break-Dancing), hip-hop dance styles, and various fitness classes as well. The most time-consuming is the ‘body power moves’. They require patience and practice, it is interesting to keep at it when playing with concepts, slides, footwork, emotion, and aggression. These are all the emotions one needs to feel.”

With the advent of hip-hop in India in the 2000s, it was around 2015 when teachers emerged after research and learning the foundations of hip-hop styles. For the first time, Red Bull organised a dance competition. International artists came to judge, and taught fundamentals to beginners —  discipline to keep the body fit, what to eat and the physical and mental preparations required.

His journey began with his mentor, Harshal Pillai, teaching him handstands. Proper education was obtained on breaking, but it was difficult at the time as there was little awareness of flips largely being a part of gymnastics, the top rocks, footwork, freezes and body power moves. He said, “These attracted me, I had a lot of curiosity.” Presently he runs the academy and engages in daily practice, exercise, diet, sleep, meditation and reading.

This International Dance Day holds significant value for artists all over the world and in our very own Pune city, people await the day with great excitement.