Happy International dance day (to all of you reading this April 29). Why a day dedicated to dance? What’s the cause that we’re trying to raise awareness for? Play some music and lean back for an education fam. We got this.
International Dance Day is a global celebration of dance, created by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute, the main partner for the performing arts of UNESCO.
The website specicially states:
“Since its creation in 1982, the International Dance Committee and the International Theatre Institute ITI select an outstanding dance personality to write a message for International Dance Day each year. This day is a celebration day for those who can see the value and importance of the art form “dance”, and acts as a wake-up-call for governments, politicians and institutions which have not yet recognised its value to the people and to the individual and have not yet realised its potential for economic growth.”
Each year’s dance keynote
The 2019 dance keynote speaker was Karima Mansour, a dancer, choreographer and educator that is from Egypt. Amongst a huge list of achievements, Mansour founded MAAT, the first contemporary dance country in Egypt. It’s safe to say we have a soft spot for a female dance CEOs who push boundaries and pioneer movements in their societies. Mansour has created over 20 choreographic works in her time and dabbled in film and theatre. As this year’s international dance spokesperson, it is her job to address the world on the importance of dance in society. So without further ado, here is Mansour’s full address:
Karima Mansour’s official International Dance Day address:
At the beginning there was movement… and since the dawn of time, dance has been a strong means of expression and celebration. Found on the murals of Egyptian Pharaohs and inspiring dance makers to date.
Dance was used to evoke the many gods and goddesses of dance with all what they represent in meaning and concepts like balance from which justice is connected, musicality, tone, individual and cosmic consciousness and more.
I read once that: “Dance in the times of the Pharaohs was thought to elevate the spirit of the dancer and of the audience of spectators or participants. Music and dance called upon the highest impulses of the human condition while also consoling people on the disappointments and losses in a life.”
Movement is a language spoken by us all. Movement is a universal language that belongs to everybody If only we open our senses and listen. Listening is what is required, listening without interference, listening without judgment, listening in silence and allowing the movement to pass through the body in the moment, because everything inside us and around us is in motion, constant motion.
This is when the body doesn’t lie because it is listening to its truth and manifesting it.
By listening to our heartbeat, we can then dance the dance of life, which requires movement, agility and adaptability, a constant shifting choreography.
In this day and age where connection & connectivity have taken on new meanings and where we are at our lowest point in our ability to connect… Dance remains to be the most sought-after action to help us re-establish that lost connection. Dance brings us back to our roots, in the cultural sense but also in the most immediate sensory, personal, individual, down to the core and heart way, whilst still enabling us to be social animals. For it is when we connect with ourselves when we listen to our inner rhythm, that we are really able to establish a connection with others and communicate.
Dance is where culture is shared and borders fall into the space of inclusion and unity, through the unspoken language of universality.
The body is an instrument of expression, a vessel for our voice, our thoughts, our feelings, our history, our being and existence, our yearning to express and connect that manifests through movement.
Dance is a space that allows oneself to connect with their truth, for that, a quiet space is required.
Dance allows us to connect and feel whole and it is only in that feeling that we find peace and with peace comes silence and it is through silence that we can hear, listen, speak and through stillness that we learn to dance our truths and this is when dance becomes pertinent.
Movement and dance is where we can move from the vertical to the horizontal, from up to down and vice versa. Movement and dance is where chaos can be created and re-organized, or not.
Where we are able to create our own realities and fleeting, ephemeral moments one after the other. Moments that can touch us and remain in our memories, to inspire and change us and others for life. That is the power of true expression and thus the power of dance
Dance is a healer. Dance is where humanity can meet.
I invite people to go beyond borders, beyond identity crisis, beyond nationalism and beyond frames. May we free ourselves of those limitations and find the movement and momentum in that universal language. I invite everybody to dance to their heartbeat, to their inner truth because it is from these internal movements, that lead to internal revolutions, where real change happens.– Karima Mansour keynote address for International Dance Day 2019
So where do you fit in on international dance day?
If you are familiar with us then you already know that we champion dance as a conduit for activism, community and healing. It need not be serious and it definitely should not be elitist.
There are so many themes and metaphors that you can explore through movement. Performance can be used to give voice to social movements. Attending dance class fosters screen-free human connection in a world that is losing it’s sense of community.
But if you want to embody this practise for the betterment of the world in its most simple way, then simply dance today, in whatever way feels right for you.
Why? Western society conditions us to hate our appearance and feel guilty when we’re not constantly performing at 1000% productivity. In our vulnerable states of burn out and insecurity, brands then promise the ultimate fix to all your problems by shopping and drinking.
In such times, celebrating your body through dance is, frankly, revolutionary.
Come dance this week for International Dance Day! Join us for a truly special week of dance and celebration! Book yourself in for beginner adult classes across Sydney and Melbourne here. Can’t make it? We’ve got online courses too!
Main image: FKA Twigs in her video clip Cellophane