Origin and history of WORLD DANCE DAY

International Dance Day
In 1982 the Dance Committee of the ITI founded International Dance Day to be celebrated every year on the 29th April, anniversary of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), the creator of modern ballet.
The intention of the "International Dance Day Message" is to celebrate Dance, to revel in the universality of this art form, to cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers and bring people together with a common language - Dance.
Every year a message from an outstanding choreographer or dancer is circulated throughout the world. The personality is selected by the founding entity of the International Dance Day - the International Dance Committee of the ITI, which collaborates with World Dance Alliance, a Cooperating Member of the ITI.
Together with the World Dance Alliance, ITI and its Dance Committee celebrate International Dance Day at UNESCO in Paris.
The International Dance Committee - IDC
The IDC seeks to develop the study and practice of Dance, through activities such as the patronage of international festivals, the organization of workshops for young professionals and events in connection with International Dance Day. It was the International Dance Committee of ITI who initiated the International Dance Day in 1982 and proposes its selection of the international message author to the Executive Council of ITI for the final selection. Every year ITI organizes together with World Dance Alliance and the IDC the main celebration for the International Dance Day at UNESCO in Paris and distributes the international message to the dance community worldwide.
The International Dance Council (CID), an umbrella organization within UNESCO is also active in the support of Dance and promotes Dance Day through the voice of its president Alkris Raftis who delivers a message himself every year.
The International Institute - ITI
The International Theatre Institute ITI, an NGO in formal associate relations with UNESCO, was officially inaugurated during the meeting of its first World Congress in Prague, 1948, organized on the initiative of UNESCO and a group of international theatre experts.
Message of the 30th anniversary of International Dance Day
by the Flemish Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui!

Through time, through the ages, what endures is mostly art. Art seems to be everything humankind leaves to its heirs – whether through buildings or books or paintings or music. Or movement, or dance. In that sense, I think of dance as the most current, the most up-to-date history lesson, as it is in a constant relationship with its most recent past and can only happen in the present.

Dance also, somehow, does not acknowledge borders in the same way as many other arts. Even when certain styles try to limit themselves or work within a frame; the movement of life, its choreography and its need for flux: these take over very quickly, allowing certain styles to mingle with other. Everything engages with everything, naturally, and dance settles only in the space it belongs to — that of the ever-changing present.

I believe that dance may be one of the most honest forms of expression for us to cherish: because when people dance, whether in a ballet performance, a hip-hop battle, an underground contemporary show or just in a discotheque, cutting loose, there are seldom any lies deployed, any masks worn. People reflect each other constantly, but when they dance, perhaps what they reflect most is that moment of honesty.

By moving like other people, by moving with other people and by watching them move, we can best feel their emotions, think their thoughts and connect to their energy. It is, perhaps, then that we can get to know and understand them clearly.
I like to think of a dance performance as a celebration of co-existence, a way to give and make space and time for each other. We tend to forget this, but the underlying beauty in a performance is that it is primarily the convergence of a mass of people, seated one next to the other, all sharing the same moment. There is nothing private about it; a performance is an extremely social experience. All of us assembled for this ritual, which is our bond with the performance, our bond with the same present.
And so, in 2012, I wish everyone lots of dance. Not to forget all their problems of 2011, but on the contrary, to tackle them creatively, to dance around them, to find a way to engage with each other and the world, to engage with life as part of its never-ending choreography. Dance to find honesty and to transmit, to reflect and to celebrate it."

- Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
International Dance Day Message Authors: 1982 – 2012
1982 Henrik NEUBAUER
1983 No message issued
1985 Robert JOFFREY
1986 Chetna JALAN
1987 Dance Committee Board
1988 Robin HOWARD
1989 Doris LAINE
1991 Hans VAN MANEN
1992 Germaine ACOGNY
1993 Maguy MARIN
1994 Dai AILIAN
1995 Murray LOUIS
1997 Maurice BEJART
1998 Kazuo OHNO
1999 Mahmoud REDA
2000 Alicia ALONSO, Jirí KYLIÁN, Cyrielle LESUEUR
2001 William FORSYTHE
2002 Katherine DUNHAM
2003 Mats EK
2004 Stephen PAGE
2005 Miyako YOSHIDA
2006 His Majesty King Norodom SIHAMONI of Cambodia
2007 Sasha WALTZ
2008 Gladys AGULHAS
2009 Akram KHAN
2010 Julio BOCCA
2011 Anne Teresa DE KEERSMAEKER
2012 Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui