Taking place every year on April 29, International Dance Day was created in 1982 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI), the main partner of the performing arts UNESCO. The day was made to act as a wake-up call for governments, politicians and institutions that have not yet recognised how important dance is to the world.
Each year, the International Dance Committee and the International Theatre Institute select an outstanding dance personality to write a message for International Dance Day. Events and festivals also take place around the world, all to celebrate dance and what it brings to us all.
In celebration of International Dance Day, here are eight reasons why dance is a special art form that can uplift the spirits of people around the world.
1. Dance gives a voice to the unheard
There are many dance styles that were born out of struggle, like breaking and krump. These styles were created by youths in socially and economically deprived circumstances. Seemingly forgotten by society, they channelled their frustrations into the creation of their dance styles. These have since spread around the world, giving the creators a vehicle through which their struggles can finally be heard, and their feelings about their situations expressed and understood.
2. Dance is a powerful vehicle to share and connect through cultures
Most dance styles have deep cultural origins behind their creation. The spreading and teaching of dance, and its roots, is something that allows people from different backgrounds to better understand and connect with each other.
Through dance, people get to share their traditions, cultural history and way of life with different people all around the world. This fosters a better understanding of the backgrounds and history of others and leads to more respect for each other’s culture.
Two young hip-hop strutters travel to Puerto Rico to explore the bomba dance style and the culture around it.
Every year dancers find more and more ways to spread the power of dance, with there now being dozens of methods and platforms through which people share the uplifting power of the art form. These include; teaching in classes, workshops and online, making dance films and curated visual content, viral social media clips, using photography and written dance articles.
4. Dance is a universal language
A big part of the power of dance is how it allows someone to communicate through movement. Dancers can transmit powerful messages, tell stories and express feelings in a way that can be understood even by people who don’t speak the same language.
Neguin and Kyoka dance at Montmartre
Neguin and Kyoka are dancing in the rain in the streets of Montmartre, Paris.
5. Dance is good for your physical and mental health
You don’t need to be a trained, high-level dancer to simply put on some music and lose yourself in the rhythm and flow of movement. Dance exercises your body, can clear your mind, help you release stress and let go of anxieties.
6. The worldwide dance community is open to everyone
Every dance style has a community of people who regularly meet up to practice, learn from each other, compete, jam and share their craft on the dancefloor. These communities exist on every scale, from small local scenes to a worldwide family for dancers.
Global dance communities mean that wherever a dancer goes in the world they can find like-minded individuals ready to chill, hang out and practice.
Every dance style originates from a genre of music that inspired its creation. By practising to that genre of music, dancers develop a deeper appreciation for the songs that drive their chosen style.
There is also a special synergy that exists between the dancers and the DJs and musicians that provide them with the musical food to feed their art. These artists constantly find and make new music, which inspires the dancers to create new moves, steps, patterns, flows and forms of expression within their dance style.
DJ Fleg gets inspiration for samples while producing a track by watching different breaking styles.
8. The amazingly creative dance scene and industry
The dance scene and industry are both massively creative and innovative places that entertain and inspire. They also offer something for everybody, with dance appearing in many forms.
People can choose to watch the best breakers and street dancers compete at competitions – like the Red Bull BC One or Red Bull Dance Your Style – or be emotionally moved by a famous ballet or Broadway show. You might even see street performers showcasing their moves, while TV and film provide an opportunity to watch all kinds of styles.
One Life, One Dance: StalaMuerte
Follow Red Bull Dancer Stalamuerte in a dance performance through the moments that made him.
How we celebrate International Dance Day
To celebrate International Dance Day, our online programme includes classes from top street style dancers from South Korea, Japan, South Africa, France, Jamaica and the USA. The classes are held online on the @redbulldance Instagram channel.
To make sure you don't miss a workshop from your favourite dancer, we've converted the times on the graphic to UTC below.