International Dance Day 2021 on 29 April: History, Themes, Importance

World observes International Dance Day (also called World Dance Day or just Dance Day) on 29 April every year to celebrate dance — one of the oldest art forms known to mankind. From the cave paintings of Bhimbetka in India to modern day hip-hop and street dancing, we have covered a long way but the essence throughout the journey has remained the same. Moving one’s body rhythmically on a beat or a music — that’s called a dance!

International Dance Day: Quick Facts

  • Founded in: 1982
  • Created by: International Theater Institute (UNESCO‘s main partner for performing arts and it has been formally recognized to be the creator and organizer of the event by UNESCO)
  • Observed by: United Nations Member States
  • Frequency of Celebration: Annual
  • Objective: To encourage dance participation and emphasize on the importance of dance education. Thus, various events are organized all across the world to mark this day.

Why is the International Dance Day celebrated on 29th April every year?

The International Dance Day is celebrated on 29th April every year because this day observes the birth anniversary of the creator of modern ballet; Jean-Georges Noverre.

international dance day

Jean-Georges Noverre was a French dancer and ballet master who is credited for creating a hybrid genre of expressive and symbolic ballet called Ballet d’action. This form of ballet emerged during the 18th century .

How is International Dance Day celebrated across the world?

Every year International Theatre Institute (ITI) officially organizes a Gala Celebration. For this, the Institute invites its members, dancers, choreographers, dance enthusiasts and students for the celebration. The Executive Council of the Institute chooses a host city each year for the Gala Celebration event. Some recent host cities for this annual event include Shanghai (2017) & Havana (2018).

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While ITI hosts the official event, International Dance Day celebrations are certainly not restricted to them. This is an event celebrated by the whole world. Various Dance festivals, shows, road exhibitions are organized all across the world to mark the significance of this day.

Message Authors

The International Theater Institute selects a personality as a Message Author for that year’s event. The Message Author emphasizes on the relevance and significance of Dance. Many big names have served as the Message Authors for the International Dance Day in the past. Interestingly, in the year 2018, 5 Message Authors were chosen from 5 different UNESCO regions to mark the 70th Anniversary of International Theatrical Institute. The past Message Authors include:

Year Message Author(s) Nationality
2020 Gregory Vuyani Maqoma South Africa
2019 Karima Mansour Egypt
2018 Georgette Gebara, Salia Sanou, Marianela Boan, Willy Tsao & Ohad Naharin Lebanon, Burkina Faso, Cuba, China & Israel
2017 Trisha Brown United States
2016 Lemi Ponifasio Samoa & New Zealand
2015 Israel Galván Spain
2014 Mourad Merzouki France
2013 Lin Hwai-min Chinese Taipei
2012 Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui Belgium
2011 Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker Belgium
2010 Julio Bocca Argentina
2009 Akram Khan (dancer) United Kingdom
2008 Gladys Agulhas South Africa
2007 Sasha Waltz Germany
2006 Norodom Sihamoni Cambodia
2005 Miyako Yoshida Japan
2004 Stephen Page Australia
2003 Mats Ek Sweden
2002 Katherine Dunham United States
2001 William Forsythe (choreographer) United States
2000 Alicia Alonso, Jiří Kylián & Cyrielle Lecueur Cuba, Russia & France
1999 Mahmoud Reda Egypt
1998 Kazuo Ohno Japan
1997 Maurice Béjart France
1996 Maya Plisetskaya Russia
1995 Murray Lewis United States
1994 Dai Ailian China & Trinidad and Tobago
1993 Maguy Marin France
1992 Germaine Acogny Benin and Senegal
1991 Hans van Manen Netherlands
1990 Merce Cunningham United States
1989 Doris Laine Finland
1988 Robin Howard United Kingdom
1987 Dance Committee of ITI International
1986 Chetna Jalan India
1985 Robert Joffrey United States
1984 Yury Grigorovich Russia
1983 No Message Author N/A
1982 Henrik Neubauer Slovenia
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International Dance Day 2021

The COVID-19 outbreak has affected each one of us and brought our world to a stand still. So this time the dance enthusiasts all across the world are marking this day by opting for the virtual world. Theme of International Dance Day 2021 is ‘Purpose of dance’.

International Dance Day Quotes

“Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.” — Sarah Dessen

“Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.” -Johann Sebastian Bach

“Dance is a timeless interpretation of life.” — Shah Asad Rizvi

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” — Voltaire

“Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.” — Amit Ray

“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.” — Kahlil Gibran

“Passion drove her deeper, into the abyss beneath his skin where she mapped his soul to the dance of his heartbeat…” — Virginia Alison

“To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music?” — Michael Jackson

“My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.” — Martin Luther

“Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.” — George Eliot

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” — Martha Graham

“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wildflowers in our hair…” — Susan Polis Schutz

“Music is the universal language of mankind.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“I feel that the essence of dance is the expression of man – the landscape of his soul. I hope that every dance I do reveals something of myself or some wonderful thing a human can be.” — Martha Graham

“Dance from your heart and let your passion shine through” — The Dance Mum

“The first dance is the worst dance; the last dance is the best dance! All the roads of persistent practice lead to the Land of Perfection!” — Mehmet Murat ildan

“If a man doesn’t know how to dance he doesn’t know how to make love, there I said it!” — Craig Ferguson

“Life is sweet when you pay attention. When it doesn’t seem sweet, put a sticker on your nose and do a funky dance.” — Whitney Scott

“I don’t want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance.” — George Balanchine

“Music is an outburst of the soul.” — Frederick Delius

That was all about the International Dance Festival from our side but if you have something interesting to share or something relevant to ask us, feel free to leave a comment below. We would love to connect with you!