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April 29 is International Dance Day, so put your dancing shoes on and get ready to step out. Dancing is universal — woven into virtually every society all over the world. Humans simply love dance. It brings us together whether we are the ones on the dance floor or are watching the professional performance of others. Dancing is exhilarating and impressive. Let’s honor the world of dance today, together!
When is International Dance Day 2021?
Lindy hop, jitterbug, freestyle, tango, ballet, and more, the art of grooving and swaying our bodies is celebrated on International Dance Day on April 29.
History of International Dance Day
The Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) established April 29 as International Dance Day in 1982 to highlight the amazing diversity and talent of dancers all over the globe. This date was chosen because it marks the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), the creator of modern ballet.
The International Theatre Institute created this holiday to promote dance across the world, to make people aware of the value of dance, and to enable the dance community to promote their work on a broad scale. The hope is for governments and opinion leaders to become increasingly aware of the value and importance of dance in all its forms and support it. On top of all this, International Dance Day was created for us to just enjoy dance for what it is and share the joy with others.
Every year the ITI selects an exemplary choreographer or dancer to write the official holiday message. Their website lists the location of their annual gala as well as other advertised events worldwide.
Evidence of dance has been found dating back 9,000 years and it has grown into a worldwide phenomenon. This holiday encourages people to celebrate their favorite type of dance while also learning new styles. There are dance styles for people of all ages and rhythm capabilities; so there’s no excuse for you not to get involved.
International Dance Day timeline
The earliest signs of dance are found painted on Egyptian tombs and Indian rock walls.
Marie Taglioni premiers pointe shoes during her ballet performance in “La Sylphide”.
With the rise in popularity of pop music, fad dances proliferated during these decades; have you heard of the Twist? the Mashed Potato? the Dog? the Hitch Hike?
Now in its 28th season, Dancing with the Stars debuted in 2005, capturing America’s love of dancing on the small screen by pairing a celebrity with a professional dancer while the viewers vote for their favorite dancers throughout the season.
International Dance Day - Survey Results
Data gathered by a top London Marketing Agency
FULL RANKING OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE TYPES OF DANCE #1: Hip hop (40%) #2: Ballroom (13%) #3: Swing (13%) #4: Latin (e.g. salsa, tango, etc.) (12%) #5: Belly dancing (7%) #6: Ballet (5%) #7: Traditional folk or indigenous dancing (African, Irish, Chinese, etc.) (5%) #8: Tap (4%) #9: Bollywood (2%)
FULL RANKING OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE DANCERS OF ALL TIME #1: Michael Jackson (24%) #2: Channing Tatum (12%) #3: Fred Astaire (9%) #4: Shakira (9%) #5: The dancers on Dancing With the Stars (6%) #6: Beyonce (6%) #7: Gene Kelly (5%) #8: Paula Abdul (5%) #9: Chris Brown (4%) #10: Madonna (3%) #11: James Brown (2%) #12: Other (15%)
FULL RANKING OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE DANCE MOVIES #1: Dirty Dancing (26%) #2: Footloose (13%) #3: Grease (13%) #4: Step Up (9%) #5: Happy Feet (7%) #6: Magic Mike (7%) #7: Save the Last Dance (6%) #8: Saturday Night Fever (5%) #9: West Side Story (5%) #10: Flashdance (3%) #11: Black Swan (3%) #12: Shall We Dance (2%) #13: Billy Elliot (1%) #14: Center Stage (1%)
Traditions of the Day
The only tradition strongly observed on International Dance Day is dancing, dancing, and more dancing! It’s probably the one day you can break into dancing in the middle of the street, like in the movies, and not be called out for it. The whole vibe of the day is letting loose and moving to the beat of your favorite music.
Dance parties and dance competitions are, of course, very popular today so everyone can feel like they are in a “Step Up” movie. People with serious dance skills take over the dance floor and some even demonstrate unique dance sequences that are no longer trendy or from different cultures. Dance studios have great membership offers, which people eagerly take advantage of. Who knows? You may be the next Patrick Swayze!
By the Numbers
30,000 – the number of people employed in the dance industry in the U.K. alone.
200 – the number of dance companies in the U.K.
80% – the percentage of professional dancers who have suffered one major injury during their career.
$4,000 – the cost of the most expensive ballet slippers.
2-3 – the number of pairs of shoes one ballerina wears per week.
30s – the average age most professional dancers retire due to strenuous physical demand.
93% – the percentage of all dancers who became dance teachers following a career-ending injury.
$1.8 million – the earnings per week of Michael Flatley — the world’s highest-paid dancer.
72,000 – the number of people who gathered at a fair in Ohio to do the chicken dance in 1996.
32 – the highest number of fouettés (swift turns on one foot) performed by ballerina Pierina Legnani for “Swan Lake.”
International Dance Day FAQs
How many people become professional dancers?
Only 3% – 10% of those who audition for a dance school or performing arts company actually go on to become professional dancers.
How long do professional dancers work?
Due to the physicality of dance and the toll it takes on their bodies, most professional dancers retire by their mid-thirties.
What is a Principal Dancer?
The highest-ranking dancer in a professional dance company, most commonly in ballet.
International Dance Day Activities
Take a class
Have you ever tried Tango? How about Zambian dance? What about Lindy Hop? Maybe you aren’t really a big dancer but, don't worry, beginner classes are very forgiving. Regardless of your skill level, today is your day to broaden your horizons! Try a dance style you've never tried before.
See a show
Dance performances often feature beautiful costumes, bright colors, and amazing sets. The highest-grossing Broadway show, Lion King, has been seen by over 100 million people since it began in 1997. Even if you cannot see a show in person today, visit the International Theatre Institute’s website for videos featuring a variety of dance styles from around the world.
Encourage young dancers
Children can begin dance lessons at a very young age. Those who enjoy it and stick with it reap many benefits such as improved physical fitness, higher self-confidence, greater ability to listen and understand instructions, and stronger determination to persevere. Encourage your children to take a chance on dancing!
5 Types Of Dance Around The World
Often referred to as the backbone of dance, ballet focuses on techniques that require a great deal of dedication to master.
Created in the 1970s, hip-hop went mainstream during the 1980s with styles known as breaking, popping, and locking.
The signature hip moves in Salsa dancing come from the dancer stepping while keeping their upper body still and level.
This traditional South Indian dance originated in Hindu temples and dates back to 1000 BC; it is usually a solo dance performed by women expressing religious and spiritual ideas.
A famous Chinese dance performed by dancers using poles to hold a long, flexible dragon figure; the longer the dragon, the more luck it is believed to bring to the community.
Why We Love International Dance Day
Did you know dancing increases feelings of self-worth? A 2007 study showed children ages 11 to 14 who took creative movement classes reported improved motivation and attitudes. So, boost your confidence and get your groove on.
Just five minutes of dancing can increase your creativity. Dancers in one study showed improvements in both mood and creative problem-solving.
It's good exercise
Dancing can burn calories. Plus, you'll never get bored with your workout. Once you get the basics down, there's a whole world of options.
International Dance Day dates