International Dance Day is coming April 29th! The International Theatre Institute ITI, an NGO in formal associate relations with UNESCO, was officially inaugurated during the meeting of its first World Congress in Prague, 1948, organized on the initiative of UNESCO and a group of international theatre experts.
The ITI's Objectives are :
• To promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in the domain of the performing arts
• To stimulate creation and increase cooperation among theatre people
• To increase public awareness of the need to take artistic creation into consideration in the domain of Development
• To deepen mutual understanding and contribute to the consolidation of peace and friendship between peoples
• To join in the defence of the ideals and aims of UNESCO
• To combat all forms of racism or social and political discrimination
About the event and history
International Dance Day was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Council (CID, Conseil International de la Danse), a UNESCO partner NGO, and is celebrated yearly, on April 29. The date is not linked to a particular person or a particular form of dance, although it's also the day when the French dancer and ballet master Jean-Georges Noverre was born. The main purpose of Dance Day events is to attract the attention of the wider public to the art of dance. Emphasis should be given to addressing a new public, people who do not follow dance events during the course of the year.
Every year, the president of the International Dance Council sends the official message for Dance Day which circulate in every country around the world.
Promotion of Dance Day by the International Dance Council
The International Dance Council considers that while dance has been an integral part of human culture throughout its history, it is less prioritized by official establishments in the world. In particular, Professor Alkis Raftis, president of the International Dance Council, in his 2003 Dance Day Message said: "In more than half of the 200 countries in the world, dance does not appear in legal texts (for better or for worse!). There are no funds allocated in the state budget to support this art form. There is no such thing as dance education, private or public."
The year 2005 focus of Dance Day was on primary education. International Dance Council urged dance establishments to contact the Ministries of Education with the proposals to celebrate this day at all schools with writing essays about dance, drawing dance pictures, dancing in the streets, etc.
The 2006 message of president of the International Dance Council addresses the reluctance of dancers to join collective organizations, expresses an opinion that this is a major reason of the lack of the due recognition (legislation, financing, visibility) of dance in society, and calls: "Dancers of the world, unite!"
The 2007 Dance Day was dedicated to children.
In 2008, Alkis Raftis circulated an e-mail which said, in part: "Governments, sponsors, and the media is our main concern this year. Governments (national, regional or local), sponsors (private or public) and the media (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV) are the three most important factors affecting the practice of our art. Dance professionals struggle to approach them individually - with poor results. We propose a better way: through CID Sections representing all forms of dance, all levels, all functions."
In 2010, Professor Alkis Raftis, President of the International Dance Council, UNESCO, Paris, wrote:
The United Nations proclaimed 2010 as International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures and designated UNESCO as lead agency in this celebration, having regard to its experience of more than 60 years in advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples.
The new Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, has proposed a universal vision, which she has called the “new humanism” - a vision open to the entire human community, providing a humanist response to globalization and crisis, aiming at the safeguarding of social cohesion and the preservation of peace.
Dance, being a central part of every culture, constitutes the ideal means for bringing together people from different countries.
Festivals promote in the most lively manner reciprocal knowledge and respect of diversity; there are hundreds of millions attending international dance festivals each year.
Teachers offering classes in foreign countries provide immediate bridges of understanding ingrained into the bodies of dancers; there are tens of thousands of dance teachers crossing national borders yearly.
Congresses and open conferences provide opportunities to showcase one's work to an audience of peers; there are dozens of international meetings of dance researchers, historians and critics in any given year.
Even outside festivals, classes or conferences, simply watching on television a dance from a foreign country offers the most striking, appealing and convincing image of another ethnic group.
For vividly illustrating cultural diversity, for embodying rapprochement, there is no better means than dance. In 2014, around 50 classical dancers got together to perform a flashmob at Chennai and performed dance. It is said to be the first flashmob of classical dancers.