International Dance Day, held every year on April 29th, was founded in 1982 by the International Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute, in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, where it is based. The date was chosen because it commemorates the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), the creator of ballet d’action.
Every year, a message from a well-known dance personality is circulated throughout the world, with the intention of uniting the field of dance by celebrating the art form and reveling in its universality, crossing all political, cultural, and ethnic barriers and bringing people together in peace and friendship with a common language.
The 2009 message is from Akram Khan. Born to a Bangladeshi family in London, Khan began studying folk dance at the age of three and Kathak at seven. He later studied at Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s school in Brussels. His first performance at London’s Dance Umbrella heralded a new talent, and Dance Magazine named him a “25 to Watch” in 2002. Now 34 years old, Khan is an associate artist at Sadler’s Wells Theatre and performs worldwide.
Below is Khan’s message:
This very special day is dedicated to the one language that everybody in this world can speak, the inherent language of our bodies and our souls, of our ancestors and of our children.
This day is dedicated to every god, guru and grandparent that ever taught and inspired us.
To every song and impulse and moment that’s ever moved us to move.
It is dedicated to the little child that wishes it could move like its star.
And to the mother who says “you already can”.
This day is dedicated to every body of every creed, colour and culture that carries the traditions of its past into stories of the present and dreams of the future.
This day is dedicated to Dance, to its myriad dialects and its immense power to express, transform, unite and delight.