International Dance Day is celebrated on 29 April each year since 1982 when it was introduced by the International Theatre Institute (ITI), a UNESCO partner NGO.
The day celebrates dance as a universal art form – crossing all political, cultural and ethnic boundaries, and bringing people together through the common language of movement and rhythm. Each year an outstanding dancer or choreographer is selected as ‘Message Author’ for the event, and this year the honour goes to Taiwanese choreographer Lin Hwai-min. Quoting from his Dance Day message:
“Dance is a powerful expression.
It speaks to earth and heaven.
It speaks of our joy, our fear and our wishes.
Dance speaks of the intangible, yet reveals the state of mind of a person and
the temperaments and characters of a people.”
Besides its cultural and artistic significance, dance is also a great physical activity, providing the dancer with a comprehensive full-body workout. As a mode of exercise it has many advantages – not only is it more fun than slogging away in a gym, it’s great for core strength, balance training and flexibility. In this age when many children and adults spend the bulk of their time sitting at a desk behind a computer, rather than engaging in physical activity, dance can become an even more important form of expression. Dance Day Message Author Lin Hwai-min also touches on this important role of dance, saying:
“Come, turn off your television, switch off your computer, and come to dance.
Express yourself through that divine and dignified instrument, which is our body.
Come to dance and join people in the waves of pulses.
Seize that precious and fleeting moment.
Come to celebrate life with dance.”
So come on, enjoy the unity and diversity of dance, feel the rhythm, and exercise your body while you’re at it. Happy International Dance Day, everyone!