International Choreographers Day is celebrated every year on January 9 across the globe. Choreographers are the masterminds behind all the beautiful dance choreographies and routines we see — the creative geniuses behind designing, planning, and arranging different movements together. Many prominent choreographers have emerged and started revolutionary dance companies that are still running today. Choreographers paved the way for many to come after them, they bring art to life, and International Choreographers Day is a day of celebration and appreciation for them.
History of International Choreographers Day
While it is hard to pinpoint the exact time of the origination of dance, archaeological evidence suggests it has been around for centuries. We know that before there were any languages, there was oral and performative communication. Evidence shows that dance has been used for cultural, religious, and communicative purposes since the beginning of time. Social, celebratory, and ritual dances are also some of the most important factors in the development of early human civilizations.
Since dance cannot leave historical evidence, secondary sources inform us of its existence and spread. Some of the earliest evidence of dance comes from temple carvings in ancient India and Egypt. Ritual dances were a part of ancient Greece and even performed before the opening of the Olympic Games (kind of like present-day opening ceremony performances). Dance was also done for entertainment purposes. There is even evidence of a Greek celebration that entailed drinking and dancing for weeks straight.
Dance made its way across the globe for different purposes. With time, there was an explosion of new dance forms and music, and it became structured. As people explored more, the rules and characteristics of different dance forms became evident. The interaction of dance, music, and performance became more intertwined, and artists started showcasing their choreographic vision. In the 1900s, the words ‘choreography’ and ‘choreographer’ came into use, and the world of choreography took a new form. International Choreography Day began to be celebrated every year on January 9 to celebrate these artists.
International Choreographers Day timeline
The earliest archaeological evidence of dance is found in Indian cave paintings.
Depictions of dance movements are found in Egyptian tomb paintings.
The term ‘choreographer’ is used for the first time to credit George Balanchine for the Broadway show “On Your Toes.”
The word ‘choreography’ appears in the American English dictionary for the first time.
International Choreographers Day FAQs
What is choreography?
Choreography means “dance writing.” It is the art of creating and arranging dance movements.
What skills do choreographers need?
Choreographers are highly skilled individuals. Some of the skills they require are high dancing ability, good teaching and communication skills, patience, creative imagination, etc.
How can I become a choreographer?
While there are no set criteria for the job, choreographers typically have a high school education and at least five years of proper dance training.
International Choreographers Day Activities
Watch a choreographer
What better way to honor an artist than by viewing their art? If you have the opportunity to go to a live show, yay! Otherwise, you can watch performances and choreographies online.
Take a choreography class
If you happen to be in the vicinity of a dance studio, try your hand at being a dancer, and enroll in a choreography class. There are many classes conducted online, or you can even follow a tutorial and teach yourself!
Create a choreographic sequence
This International Choreographers Day, channel your inner choreographer. Choose music of your liking, let your body feel and move the way it wants to, and wait for the magic to happen.
5 Choreographers You Should Know
Considered one of the most important choreographers, he co-founded the New York City Ballet, founded the American School of Ballet, and did significant work on Broadway and Hollywood.
Leading the Paul Taylor Dance Company since 1954, Paul was among the last living members to pioneer American modern dance.
Credited with revolutionizing modern dance, he opened the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in New York City and paved the way for other African-American dancers.
An innovator in modern dance and a leader in dance anthropology, she directed the Katherine Dunham Dance Company for 30 years and developed the Dunham technique.
Referred to as the “Picasso of Dance,” Martha greatly impacted American dance and reshaped modern dance worldwide through the Graham technique.
Why We Love International Choreographers Day
It helps us appreciate art
Artists, much like any other professionals, deserve to have their work appreciated and admired. We often enjoy displays of art without recognizing the creative geniuses behind them, and this day allows us to take the time to do that for choreographers.
Choreographers are highly skilled
While they make choreographies and movements look effortless, choreographers have years of training and endless hours of physically demanding work every day. Creating, planning, and directing according to their imagination, vision, and their dancers’ expertise and improv is no easy task.
It’s more than just about dance
Choreography is a part of several other performing arts like ice skating, and film and television scenes are also choreographed. Bob Anderson choreographed some fight scenes for movies like “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars.”
International Choreographers Day dates