Initiated in 1982 by the International Dance Committee of the UNESCO International Theatre Institute, International Dance Day falls on April 29 of every year. Since 2005, the Canadian Dance Assembly has issued a Canadian message in conjunction with the UNESCO message. This year, CDA invited Roger Sinha of Sinha Danse to share his inspirational message to all Canadians."Dance is what sets us apart and what brings us together. Individually, our unique voice is the authenticity that our bodies can express. Nobody in this entire world, the billions of people, walks the way you walk. Walking is just one expression of movement; there is also falling, jumping, skipping, running, shaking, turning and turning and turning until you spin. I spin my way; you spin yours. It’s who I am and it’s who you are. My individuality, the seeking of my own uniqueness, moulds the themes of my work: Indian, Armenian, Canadian, Québecois, male.
Roger Sinha was born in England to an Armenian mother and an Indian father, and later moved at the age of eight to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. After graduating from Toronto Dance Theatre, he settled in Montreal and quickly became involved in several collaborations within the blossoming local artistic community. He danced in the renowned work, Joe, by choreographer Jean-Pierre Perreault, where he forged relationships with many dancers and choreographers including Hélène Blackburn, Sylvain Émard, Pierre Paul Savoie and Daniel Soulières. In 1991, he formed his company Sinha Danse and began developing his distinct choreographic language based on an intermingling of his Indian background and Canadian culture. His creations unite Bharata Natyam, a dance originating in Southern India, martial arts and contemporary dance. This unique fusion of influences has given birth to hybrid choreographies that are unquestionably distinctive.
I see dance as a community builder. In fact, I see it creating communities. People come together through dance to embody their specific needs and values. In rehearsals, at the nightclub, on the street, at the community centre, friends and alliances are formed on the dancefloor that carry through into everyday life.
I see dance as an expanding field. I’m excited that dance and choreography is continually re-defining what it is, where it is practiced and who is included. Dance happens not only in the theatre, but also in the gallery, in public spaces. More and more, dance is being shared and learned online, taking its place in the virtual world, even appearing at political protests. It’s inspiring to see innovative artists that push the boundaries of form, creating undefinable experiences which broaden our ideas of what dance can become.
Continue reading the full message here
I became a dancer because of my desire to fly. The transcendence of gravity was always something that moved me. There is no secret meaning in my dances. They are a spiritual exercise in a physical form.
Dance communicates and expands the universal language of communication, giving birth to joy, beauty and the advancement of human knowledge. Dance is about creativity…again and again…in the thinking, in the making, in the doing, and in the performing. Our bodies are a tool for expression and not a medium for representation. This notion liberates our creativity, which is the essential lesson and gift of art-making.
Continue reading Trisha's message here