Dance is powerful and International Dance Day is a day to celebrate that.
International Dance Day was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Council to encourage people around the world to share in the magic of dance.
As a dance writer, dance teacher, dance student and dance fan, I am thankful every single day for the opportunities that dance has given me to thrive as an individual. Dance can move us, make us think and connect us to others. It can brighten the darkest days and inspire people of all ages to explore their creative and physical potential.
My own participation in dance classes as a toddler was pure serendipity, yet dance is an overwhelmingly important part of my life. For this reason, I believe that everyone ought to have the chance to learn to dance – and to watch and appreciate dance performances. The International Dance Council promotes International Dance Day to urge people who may not normally engage with dance to strive to do so. Dance has always featured in human culture but its significance is now often overlooked as an art form, particularly in education.
We need to remember that dance, in all its forms, matters!
I teach tiny tots, children, teenagers and adults. Without question, dance matters to them all. For little ones, dance classes allow them to start to explore what their imaginations and bodies are capable of. In the dance studio, they will begin to understand the need to wait their turn, to be kind to other people and to listen to ideas and instructions. Later, children discover the satisfaction that comes from practising and mastering movement and relish the chance to express themselves to music. Devoting time to dancing can help stressed teens rediscover a zest for life, helping to put worries about schoolwork, friends or relationships into perspective. Meanwhile, adults adore the challenge of a dance class and treat it as their “me time” – whether they are newbies venturing into a beginners’ class or they have danced all their lives. Dance matters!
Every year, an influential member of the global dance community is asked to write an International Dance Day Message. International Dance Day Message 2017 was written by American dancer, choreographer, dance theorist and visual artist Trisha Brown, who died aged 80 on 18th March 2017 after a lengthy illness.
One of the great explorers of postmodern dance, Trisha Brown created revolutionary, gravity-defying works that shattered illusions about what constituted dance. Her early choreography in the 1960s was made for alternative spaces, including rooftops and walls, and her later more conventionally staged movement investigations found the extraordinary in the everyday. She established the Trisha Brown Dance Company in 1970 and the troupe is dedicated to the preservation and performance of her work.
Trisha Brown’s International Dance Day Message 2017:
I became a dancer because of my desire to fly. The transcendence of gravity was always something that moved me. There is no secret meaning in my dances. They are a spiritual exercise in a physical form.
Dance communicates and expands the universal language of communication, giving birth to joy, beauty and the advancement of human knowledge. Dance is about creativity… again and again… in the thinking, in the making, in the doing, and in the performing. Our bodies are a tool for expression and not a medium for representation. This notion liberates our creativity, which is the essential lesson and gift of art-making.
The life of an artist does not end with age, as some critics believe. Dance is made of people, people and ideas. As an audience, you can take the creative impulse home with you and apply it to your daily life.
> This post is featured on the International Dance Council’s Dance Day Official Website.
Georgina Butler is a journalist, a dance writer and a dance teacher who specialises in teaching classical ballet. She previews and reviews productions, writes features and interviews people from the world of dance.