International Dance Day was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), a UNESCO partner NGO, and is celebrated on April 29 of every year. The date was suggested by the International Dance Committee of ITI to commemorate the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre, creator of modern ballet.
This year, like every other, Bangladesh is also celebrating the day with programmes to be held in the National Theatre Hall of Shilpakala Academy.
“The celebrations this year will be toned down due to the tragedy that happened in Savar; we will only have an award ceremony,” said eminent dancer Minu Haque, president of Bangladesh Dance Artist’s Association (BDAA) and founder of Pallavi dance center.
“Even though we cannot celebrate on a grand scale at this grave time of the country, I believe it is something that has the ability to bring light into people’s lives. BDAA will be handing out awards to those dancers who have brought light into peoples’ lives,” said noted dance exponent Belayet Hossain.
The International Dance Festival has played a big role in the community of dancers for years now. “Four or five of us started the celebration in Bangladesh back in the 90′s. Slowly, people started becoming more aware of the significance of dance as an art. And that is what we wanted for Bangladesh,” eminent dancer Sharmila Banerjee, founder of dance troupe Nritya Nandan and dance instructor of Chhayanaut Institute of the Arts told the Daily Star. “Celebrating dance all over the world on the same day brings a certain kind of unity among all dancers. Makes us all feel like it is our day! And because of this very day, dance is a respected art now, not just in our country but all over the world. The value of dance has increased”, she added.
Dance exponent and researcher Lubna Marium said “Everyday is a celebration of dance for us. But on this very day, we know that everyone of us is respecting and celebrating the art form like no other. The International Dance Day builds a global solidarity among all dancers. Dance greatly facilitates an exchange in culture, an exchange in dialogue, and for all of that to happen on this day unites those who are practitioners of this form of art. Just knowing that fact is a beautiful thing, let alone experiencing it,” Lubna Marium asserted.