International Dance Day
Observed on the 29th of April every year, International Dance Day is a holiday that was first created to increase the public persona and profile of dancing as an art form. The holiday was initially created by the International Dance Committee of the International Theater Institute and is a holiday on which both professionals and amateurs alike can head out to the dance floor and get their groove on.
It’s also a holiday that’s supported by a variety of events all over the world–with events in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Since dance is both an art form and a form of cultural expression for cultures all over the globe, this is a holiday that everyone can get involved in celebrating.
History of International Dance Day
The Dance Committee of the International Dance Committee of the International Theater Institute created this holiday in 1982. April 29th was picked as the day to celebrate it by the committee because that was when Jean-Georges Noverre, the creator of the modern ballet, was born in 1727.
They created the day to help bring people together and help them celebrate all in the special language of dance. A language that visually captivates everyone who watches it and can transcend borders and cultural barriers. Although there is another group that claims that they invented this holiday first, it’s pretty clear that this holiday was created by The Dance Committee of the International Theater Institute.
Amazing Facts About Dancing
Since we’re digging into the holiday of International Dance Day, we thought that it might be fun to lay out some dance-related facts that people can enjoy on this holiday. Facts that are sure to keep everyone entertained on their way to whatever dance event they have planned for this day.
The Dancing Plague
Okay, this is only distantly related to dancing and the spirit of this holiday, but it’s an interesting fact nonetheless. At the beginning of the 16th century, people in Strasbourg, France danced uncontrollably until they collapsed.
Some of them died from exhaustion and others died from heart attacks. Historians don’t know why this outbreak happened, but some of them have speculated that it might have been caused by ergot poisoning, or by stress-induced psychosis.
Sweden’s Sustainable Dance Floor
A dance floor that’s referred to as one of the first sustainable dance floors in the world opened up at Club Watt in Rotterdam, Sweden in 2008. This dance floor has special tiles that sit on top of springs that are attached to generators. As people dance on the floor, the springs are compressed and that generates energy. The energy is then routed to light up the dance floor.
The World’s Longest Conga Dance Line Had Almost 120,000 People
In Miami, Florida in 1988, the world record for the longest conga dance was set. This happened at the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana and occurred on March 13, 1988. In that conga dance, 119,986 people were counted.
The Largest Charleston Dance Happened In 2018
On September 22, 2018, in Shrewsbury in the United Kingdom, there was a Charleston dance that broke the Guinness Book of World Records record. About 1,096 got together for the “I Can Charleston” event that raised money for Severn Hospice.
The Oldest Dance Troupe Was Certified in 2014
The Guinness Book of World Records certified the oldest dance troupe in May of 2014. This troupe was the Hip Op-eration Crew of New Zealand. This group had 23 active members that were aged from 67 years old up to 95 years old. This gave the group an average age of 79 years and 197-days.
International Dance Day Customs & Traditions
Every year, except for 1983, a speaker is chosen to deliver the message of the International Dance Council around the world. This speaker is someone who is somehow connected to the art of dancing. These could be dancers, choreographers, or other dance professions. Some of the past speakers have included Yuri Grigorovitch, Robin Howard, Germaine Acogny, Maguy Marin, William Forsythe, King Norodom Sihamoni, Sasha Waltz, and Sidi Larbi Cherkaou.
Because this is a worldwide celebration, the speaker’s speech is translated into a number of different languages and the translations are then delivered to the General Secretariat of the International Theater Institute (ITI)for publication on one of their two websites: iti-worldwide.org and international-dance-day.org.
The ITI invites its members along with dance students and enthusiasts, dancers, and choreographers to join them in a gala celebration. Where this event is hosted is dependent on what the Executive Council of ITI decides upon. For example, in 2018, the event was held in Havana, Cuba, but the previous year it was held in Shanghai, China. The message of International Dance Day is also delivered through videos that are uploaded to YouTube.