International Dance Day - April 29th, 2021

Initiated in 1982 by the International Dance Committee of the UNESCO International Theatre Institute, International Dance Day falls on April 29 of every year, commemorating the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre, a distinguished choreographer that brought about significant reforms in ballet production. Every year, an international message authored by a well-known dance personality is circulated around the world as part of International Dance Day celebrations.

International Dance Day Actions & Celebrations


This year CDA is celebrating with a #passthedance chain linking dancers across the country! We have picked 12 dancers who have been inspiring us to keep moving. Look out on our Instagram, Facebook or Twitter all day April 29th to witness their #passthedance chains and join in!

Post a video of you dancing and tag 5 friends you want to #passthedance to! Include tagging @cdaacd and we’ll repost your moves. In a time where we can’t be together, we’d love to share the love of dance across borders in this joyful celebration.

We invite all movers of all kinds to participate and share in the love of dance and movement expression. We pass the dance to YOU!

Watch the #PassTheDance chain here.

ITI Unesco Message

Friedemann Vogel, Germany

Ballet Dancer

“Everything starts with movement – an instinct we all have – and dance is movement refined to communicate. Much as flawless technique is important and impressive, it is ultimately what the dancer expresses inside the movement that is the essence.

As dancers, we are constantly on the move, aspiring to create these unforgettable moments. Regardless of the dance genre, it’s what every dancer strives to achieve. So, when all of a sudden, we aren’t allowed to perform anymore, with theatres closed and festivals cancelled, our worlds come to a standstill. No physical contact. No shows. No audiences. Never in recent history has the dance community been so collectively challenged to stay motivated, to find our raison d’être.

Yet, it is precisely when something precious has been taken away from us that we truly appreciate how vital it is what we do, and how much dance means to society at large. Dancers are often celebrated for their physical prowess, when in fact we are sustained even more by our mental strength. I believe it is this unique combination of physical and psychological agility that will help us overcome, to reinvent ourselves to keep dancing, and to keep inspiring.”

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Canadian Messages from East to West

In addition to the International message, many regions are sharing Canadian messages to keep us moving and inspired.

Nova Scotia

Liliona Quarmyne’s International Dance Day Message for Nova Scotia

“To dance can be to release, to capture, to breathe, to rejoice, to mourn. It can bring water or fire, it can burn and it can heal, it can strip away even as it builds. Dance can be all things.

In this time when many of us move in the space between despair and hope, dance will not fail us. It will be there, complete in its ability to hold the complexity and multiple truths of the times in which we live. This does not mean that it will always bring us ease but, if we let it, dance will always bring us more deeply into who we are. It will hold us in the continuum between our ancestors and future generations. It will guide us from where we have been to where we must go. And it will remind us, time and time again, of what is means to be in our bodies on this land.

The dance can be our elder. My wish for all of us is that we may be brave enough to sit at her feet and listen to her stories.”

Photography by James Mclean

Connect to National Dance Week celebrations in Nova Scotia!

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Aïcha Bastien-N’Diaye’s International Dance Day Message for Quebec from RQD


Because it is essential. Always has been.

Dance is good for us. It is a timeless remedy against aches and wounds. A living art that brings joy to young and old alike. A universal language, both authentic and powerful.

Dance holds the power to galvanize a village around a single rhythm, inspire a world to unite rather than divide, and feed the soul of a whole community. It is practiced for sheer pleasure, or it can be a career. Dance makes sure movement never ceases.”

Watch Aïcha’ video

Connect to celebrations in Quebec

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Christine Friday’s International Dance Day Message from Dance Umbrella of Ontario

“Moving energy, understanding our ancestral gifts that are deeply rooted in the land, water, sky and through the animals we awaken our direct connection to the spirit.

My traditional practice is revealed in the contemporary world. The use of integrated knowledge creates the opportunity to continue to define our own truth and experiences relating to our communities, land and cultural origins; telling our own stories of who we are and where we come from.”

Connect to Christine Friday and Friday Creeations on Instagram or Facebook.

Photography by Gerry Gooderham

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Natasha Powell's International Dance Day Message from Dance Ontario

“So today, on International Dance Day, I invite you to recall your WHY with dance. I also invite us all to focus on the present moment by grounding our feet, connecting to the rhythm of our heartbeats, connecting to our WHY with dance, and letting the magic of movement flow through our bodies.”

Photography by Kendra Epik

Connect to celebrations in Ontario

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Christine Ritche’s International Day Day message for Alberta from the Alberta Dance Alliance

“We danced in our diapers.
Before we had words, training, history, or context.
Before we could filter, judge, or compare our moves and grooves.
In the most primal, uninhibited, wild and free way, we moved because it felt good. It felt truthful. It felt right.

Our drive to dance is more than moving our body. It is the embodiment of emotion, the physical manifestation of story, the expression of culture, the universal language of humanity.

I have dabbled in writing, yoga, graphic design, photography, not to mention an exhaustive number of exercise classes and disciplines. But nothing could ever replace the experience of dancing. The incomparable fusion of artistry and athleticism. The access to emotion. The feelings of freedom. The undeniable authenticity.

My soul always came back to Dance. Our souls are always wanting to dance.
Without rules or judgement.
Without expectations or conditions.
With full bold, unapologetic veracity.

As we celebrate International Dance Day, may we all reconnect with instinctual bops, our intuitive sways and, inevitably, our diaper bum bounces.”

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British Columbia

Ziyian Kwan’s International Dance Day message for British Columbia from the Dance Centre

“An invitation from The Dance Centre, to write a message for International Dance Day is an honour. And I can’t help but ask, where to begin? Perhaps I can begin with the body, inside the revolutionary movement that is dance. Dance that belongs to all of us: artists, witnesses, citizens of the world.

Reflecting on the last year, I have seen and felt dance in every how and every where.

With uncertainty as an ally, we have cultivated hope – and I think that we can call this hope-making, creative prowess. We are each of us in our own ways, dancing. And with this motion, we conjure into being, our most beautiful dreams.

This past year, we have often spoken and danced about isolation. But we have also connected with each other prolifically. Nuances of encounter have been amplified and our appetite for camaraderie has opened to new spaces of sharing. Over and over, artists have risen to support each other and we in turn, have been supported by a treasured community.

Where to end? The answer is clear. Never. What arises now more than ever, is that art is needed. Art is healing. Within this great medicine of art, there is revolutionary movement. And however we choose to experience this movement, it is vividly within us.

This dance is ours.”

Photography by David Cooper

Connect to Celebrations in BC.

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Other Celebrations

We acknowledge the incredible activities happening across the country so check your local organizations including:

Newfoundland and Labrador – DanceNL
Manitoba – Dance Manitoba
Saskatchewan – Dance Saskatchewan


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