Dance Day

                                           Dance Day preparations

On the 29th of April, as every year since 1982, Dance Day will be celebrated all over the world.

The CID has prepared the following guidelines as a useful checklist for dance directors. The general term “dance directors” is meant to include all persons institutionally involved in the wider field of dance: teachers, choreographers, group leaders, journalists, researchers, associations, suppliers, organizations etc.

Object

The main purpose of Dance Day events is to attract the attention of the wider public to the art of dance. Special emphasis should be given to addressing a “new” public, people who do not follow dance events during the course of the year.

Events

Dance Day events may be special performances, open-door courses, public rehearsals, lectures, exhibitions, articles in newspapers and magazines, dance evenings, radio and TV programs, visits, street shows etc.

Organizers

Events are primarily organized by dance companies, amateur groups, schools, associations and other institutions active in dance. Wherever possible, it is better for events to be organized jointly with a non-dance institution such as a government agency, a public school, a municipality, a business enterprise, a trade union.

Content

You have full freedom to define the content of the event.

Make sure that you include general information on the art of dance, its history, its importance to society, its universal character. This can be done in a short speech, a note in the program, a text distributed to those present. By adding this dimension you make the event different from dance activities taking place any other day.

Read a message from a prominent personality, a poem, a passage from a text by a famous author.

Coordination

In order to achieve maximum success, it is important that preparations start early enough.

It is imperative to inform the press and generally the media about your event.

Notify an organization holding a central position at regional or national level, which should publish a list of events planned for Dance Day.

Entrance to events should preferably be free, or by invitation. Invite persons who do not normally attend dance events.

Location

At best, events should take place in “new” places, such as streets, shops, factories, villages, discotheques, schools, stadiums etc.

By setting the event in original surroundings you stress the fact that this is an event dedicated to the universal family of dancers.


       World Dance Day message   29 April 2003

On this special day I would ask all fellow dancers to stop for a second, in order to ponder on global issues concerning dance. There are quite a number of such issues. Here are only some of them.

There are several countries in the world where dance does not even exist in the eyes of the state. Its practise is barely tolerated. Professional dancers are outcasts of society, amateur dancing is to be seen within the family circle only.

In more than half of the 200 countries in the world, dance does not appear in legal texts (for better or for worse!). There are no funds allocated in the state budget to support this art form. There is no such thing as dance education, private or public.

In most cities of the world there is an acute shortage of dance spaces. Unlike music, dance needs considerable room to evolve (on the other hand, dancers do not have to buy instruments - they use their bodies!). Municipal authorities admit that city people need to dance too, but do nothing to provide the spaces required by amateurs or professionals to practice or to perform.

There are many more issues concerning dance as a whole, whether on a national or international scale. I would not advise choreographers, instructors, performers, students, or one-evening-a-week amateurs to think about these issues too often - and spoil the deep joy that dance provides!

But on the 29th of April, for a few seconds only, a thought should be given to the unfortunate ones in faraway places whose access to dance is barred or hampered.

And for the rest of the day, we can look around us and do something to bring dance to those who do not benefit from its charms during the other days of the year.

 Prof. Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council CID


                                  World Dance Day message

                                             29 April 2002

                         Yo puedo bailar en un templo sin profanarlo                                                         (I can dance in a temple without profaning it).

                   Vicente Escudero (1892-1980), Spanish flamenco dancer

These eight words give the essence of good dance. They should be our compass in cases when commercialized dance in the rich countries deviates towards a meaningless sequence of movements.

Choreography is corrupted by the frantic quest for innovation.

Dance teaching is degraded by the blind concentration on steps.

Dance research is impoverished by the idealization of structure analysis.

Too often we forget to ask ourselves if this or that dance is really beautiful, if it carries values, if it will resist the ultimate test of time.

Dance in itself is not sacred, but it can stand beside the sacred, as a means to transcend reality, a tool for liberation, a way of acquiring another self.

Not all creations can be fit to dance in a temple - just as we cannot always wear Sunday clothes.

We therefore need to educate the public in developing qualitative criteria: how to tell "Sunday dances" from "everyday dances".

Our dances should at least be good enough to dance outside a temple.

                                                                     Prof. Alkis Raftis

                                                   President of the International Dance Council CID


                                       Dance Day message                                                                                     of the International Dance Council  29 April 2001

The International Dance Council - CID - dedicates the first year of the century to the introduction of dance in public education.

Learning dance in traditional societies was done without teachers. Children learned by themselves, copying adults at home, in the neighbourhood, at village feasts and other ceremonies. Most important: children saw that dance matters, that adult dancers were saying something with their dance, something important. When the time came, they entered the public scene officially, demonstrating their ability to express rhythm and song by movements, to evolve in unison with their fellow dancers and to be creative in space with their body.

Today, very few are the lucky children that have that fortune. In most villages time-honoured celebrations do not take place any more, while at homes parents watch television rather than dance to singing with their children. Most children in the world grow up in towns or near towns, and acquire most of their knowledge in school rather than in the family or the village.

Dance should not be absent from basic education. Among all arts, it is the most appropriate for today's children, because it forms body and soul concurrently. No wonder it was an integral part of the cultured man in Ancient Greece. It is not enough just having dance in the curriculum; it must be taught as a meaningful activity, a vital means of communication - not as a dead language.

We urge the Ministries of Education of all countries to elaborate programs taking into account the views of specialists. I would like to ask every member of the C.I.D. world-wide, every dance person, every educator, to contribute to the introduction of dance in primary and secondary education.

Prof. Alkis Raftis President


                                            Dance Day message                                                                                   of the International Dance Council  29 April 2000

In this last year of the 20th century, it is imperative to look back and attempt a bird’s eye view of the course of events regarding dance in the last hundred years.

Two major events will distinguish this past century’s state of the dance on a world-wide perspective. Two new dance genres emerged at its outset, grew consistently throughout its span, and had created a new space for their respective forms by the end of the twentieth century: folk and modern dance.

Folk dance appeared when amateur dancers in the cities discovered they could practice traditional, that is peasant, dances for recreation and for stage presentation. These same dances were being abandoned steadily by their original practitioners, the rural populations in traditional cultures.

Modern dance was born when professional dancers rejected the constraints of classical ballet and presented performances based on individual expression and their concepts of what constituted free movement.

During this century, classical ballet gained in variety, depth and refinement, in perfecting its incomparable technique, and in spreading to many countries who had not known it before.

Ballroom dance acquired new friends and new methods, and expanded into the novel field of competition dance. Its “closed couple” dances found a counterpart in popular dance fashions that swept the youth of the world, like rock ‘n’ roll and discothèques.

It was a century of renaissance and “naissance” in dance.

Turning now to the next century, we would like to see:

-  More communication between families of dance, though not abolishing the borderlines between them.

-  Return to the ancestral global vision of dance, as part of an event incorporating music, movement, theater, song. Arts have shown a marked tendency to isolate themselves; they lose their poetic content in the process.

-  More knowledge of the past, more consciousness of belonging to a line of evolution. There has been a rampant idolization of innovation. Even the wildest revolutionaries should know well what they revolt against. Even the most inspired creators cannot do without the study of their predecessors.

-  More visibility for dance. In the past centuries dance used to be omnipresent in private and public life, while during this century its practice has retracted. Now sports have audiences ten times larger than dance.

The recent boom of the last two decades is evidence supporting an optimistic view of the future, for amateur as well as for professional dancers.

Prof. Alkis Raftis   President of the CID