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The official message for
Dance Day
29 April 2016

 

    The media report mainly on dance performances, rarely on dance classes. On the other hand learning dance is more widespread than performing: ten times more people practice dance in class than perform on stage.

    The current economic crisis barely affected dance schools: while many businesses closed very few dance schools did, at worst they lost some students. This proves once more that dance is among the most basic needs - people opt to reduce other expenses rather than stop paying for dance classes.

    State subsidies to companies and public conservatories were reduced, so they turn more and more to private sponsors. Private schools rely on fees paid by students so they turn increasingly to advertising to attract more students. They enlarge the range of dances taught, they organize events, they become more outward and flexible.

    Unfortunately organizations in some countries try to limit the number of dance teachers by putting pressure on governments to recognize only diplomas offered by them. We believe that teaching dance should be open to all without any restrictions.

    Nothing should stop an individual from teaching, learning or performing an art, whether music, theater, dance, painting or poetry.

    We do encourage all to study seriously and obtain certificates and diplomas in order to gain the confidence of students, but we insist that qualifications should not be restrictive by keeping others from teaching in private practice. Governments should resist pressure from interest groups trying to create their own monopoly in any art.

    A good professional is happy to rely on his/her talent, knowledge and reputation, not on privileges accorded by regulations keeping others from competing and comparing with him. Art by definition is inclusive, not exclusive.

    Dance Day 2016 is dedicated to maintaining an open doors policy in teaching dance.

 

Alkis Raftis
President of the International Dance Council CID, 
UNESCO, Paris

 

 

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The official message for

Dance Day

29 April 2015

    A century ago famous Russian organizer Sergei Diaghilev revolutionized ballet by inviting the most talented painters and musicians of his time to contribute to his performances. I have the impression that present day choreographers neglect the other arts, do not feel the need to present their creations alongside their equals in other fields.

   I am sure audiences would appreciate more arts included in dance performances, starting with the classical arts: painting, sculpture, theater, music, poetry, architecture, as well as more modern forms like photography, cinema, multimedia, lighting design, sound design. Let me go further in proposing to enrich choreography with the humanities (history, literature, philosophy and linguistics). Personally I would particularly enjoy storytelling, martial arts, and - I mean it very seriously - culinary arts.

    There is nothing new to it, ancient Greeks in their symposia combined all the above. After 25 centuries we could return to the idea that a complete performance combines as many arts as possible.

    This year the International Dance Council CID joins forces with a sister organization to celebrate Dance Day. The International Association of Art IAA/AIAP is a non-governmental organization whose offices are next to ours at UNESCO. Our common proposal is to combine dance with painting, drawing, sculpture or other forms of creative work in the visual arts.

    Many thanks to Ms. Rosa-Maria Burillo from Mexico, World President of IAA/AIAP, who mobilized artists from dozens of countries suggesting they cooperate with choreographers, dancers and dance teachers in common events: performances, exhibitions, happenings, flashmobs, worship meetings, therapeutic sessions and (why not?) banquets!

Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council CID

UNESCO, Paris

1. The official message for Dance Day is mailed to over 100,000 dance professionals in 200 countries. It is translated to dozens of languages. Please ask for a translation, or translate the message to the language of your country; send it to dance organizations and the media. You can find guidelines and previous messages at www.cid-portal.org

2. World Dance Day, every year on 29 April, established in 1982 and promoted by CID, aims at attracting attention to the art of dance. It is celebrated by millions of dancers around the globe. On that day, dance companies, dance schools, organizations and individuals, professionals as well as amateurs, organize an activity addressing an audience different from their usual one. 

3. The International Dance Council is the official organization for all forms of dance in all countries of the world. 

- CID is recognized by UNESCO, national and local governments, international organizations and institutions.

- Its members are the most prominent federations, associations, schools, companies and individuals active in dance in more than 150 countries.

- CID was founded in 1973 within the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, where it is based.

- UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

International Dance Council - CID - Conseil International de la Danse
UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, FR-75732 Paris, France
www.cid-portal.org

Visit the official website for Dance Day
http://danceday.cid-portal.org/
and send announcement of your event to be posted there
Ask for the CID logo to be sent to you, to be used for Dance Day events

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The official message for 
Dance Day  
29 April 2014
A dancer's creed
I believe in one dance
father, all-resonant
revealer of heaven and earth
and of all things visible and invisible:
Light of body,
very dance of very souls,
begotten, not made,
ever-present,
by whom all things are transfigured.
Who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven
before all worlds
and was incarnate in the bodies of mortals
and humanized them.
And was crucified during the consumer society,
suffered and was buried
and rises again in isolated places
where no scriptures exist.
And comes again with glory
to enliven both the quick and the dead:
whose kingdom shall have no end.
I believe in a holy dance,
lord, giver of life,
who proceedeth from independent communities
who speaks by the flesh of humans,
instead of the prophets.
I acknowledge that it constitutes a baptism
for the remission of afflictions and sins
the resurrection of dead limbs,
and the life of the world to come.

                      Alkis Raftis

A reading of the 2014 Dance Day message

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The official message for

Dance Day 

29 April 2013

     In 1973 a group of people from several countries gathered within the Palais de l'UNESCO in Paris to found the International Dance Council. A world-wide organization for the art of Music existed since many years, as well as another one for Theater, so it was natural to think that Dance should have its own highest body.

     The founding fathers and mothers were active in ballet and modern dance, so subsequent members continued to be distinguished dancers, choreographers and dance teachers from these areas, mainly Europeans. Famous German choreographer Kurt Jooss was elected as President.

     Much later, starting from 1999, membership was opened to personalities from other forms of dance: traditional, contemporary, tango, Indian, therapeutical, Oriental etc. Now one can say that CID is truly representative when it comes to dance idioms, geographical areas and functions. Scholars constitute a high proportion: university professors, holders of doctor's degrees, authors of dance books, researchers. Organizations such as federations, unions, university departments, associations or regional groupings remain as the most important category of members.

     The CID portal is a useful tool for anyone in the industry; it contains the full list of members, as well as books they have authored and magazines they publish. The most commonly used feature is the Global Dance Directory containing over 300,000 dance professionals in 200 countries, a unique achievement among all the arts and sciences. Dance Day is the most well-known program, celebrated in every part of the globe.

     Every professional active in dance is invited to apply for membership, candidates are admitted after evaluation of their profile or after nomination by another member. The number of members grows constantly, as a proof of vitality and openness.

     Dance Day 2013 is dedicated to the 40th anniversary of CID. The stronger CID becomes the more dancers will feel united and empowered.

Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council CID

UNESCO, Paris

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The official message for

World Dance Day

29 April 2012

     If you search the Global Dance Directory using "therapy" as keyword you get 2600 listings. This means that approximately one in every hundred dance professionals provides some form of therapy. Though 0.01% is a very small percentage, therapy is probably the most rapidly expanding branch of the dance industry. The proliferation of courses and workshops shows that the number of dance therapists has the potential to double every year. Qualified professionals are increasingly employed in hospitals, health centers, aged persons' homes, prisons or mental asylums. Private practices are multiplying, and so are conventional dance schools offering therapy classes.

     This boom might be due to the fact that curing through dance comes under the Ministry of Health in many countries, so the possibility of funding is incomparably higher than when dance is oriented towards performance or recreation. Another reason is that, since our modern way of life has alienated man from primary functions, people are rediscovering the power of dance to heal.

     Dancing certainly makes a healthy person feel better, but seeking to alleviate a manifest psychological problem through dance is another thing. Traditional societies have preserved well-being by providing frequent opportunities to dance in social gatherings and in rituals. Since these events have been abandoned our frustration has accumulated, so now we turn to sessions by professionals to satisfy that need. Specific dances have been used to cure some illnesses - research is required to find out if those dances can be used today for the same purpose.

     Even more impressive is the fact that patients have been cured not by their own dancing but by the dancing of another person. In many countries of the world people ask healers, shamans and witch-doctors to continue age-old practices because they find them beneficial. These dances, rejected so far by industrialized societies, deserve serious study.

     Modern dance therapy, though only a few decades old, has developed new techniques, only partially based on traditional practices. It produces a body of knowledge, theoretical as well as applied, and establishes its effectiveness. Much more needs to be done.

     We urge universities to launch dance therapy curriculums, governments to recognize dance therapists as a distinct profession and social security agencies to reimburse treatment by dance when prescribed by doctors, psychologists and other primary therapists.

Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council CID

UNESCO, Paris

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The official message for
World Dance Day
29 April 2011

     For the greater part of the history of mankind, dance took place outdoors. People would gather in forest glades, village squares, churchyards, or on threshing floors, to enjoy dancing for hours on end. Nowadays, dance mostly takes place in ballrooms, clubs, theatres, school halls, studios and discotheques.

     This year we propose making a step back towards nature by celebrating World Dance Day in open spaces: streets, squares, parks, stadiums, beaches, parking lots, clearings - anywhere under the sky.

The urge to dance is a natural impulse; dancers worship nature in their way, connecting with the universe and feeling its juices flow into them.

     All through the year we teach dance, we rehearse, we perform within four walls. On this special day dedicated to dance, let us mark the difference by practising, teaching or performing for everyone to see. It might be cold and rainy, the floor is certainly not good enough, and the wind takes the music away, but the beauty in those movements and the joy on those faces will brighten the hearts of the spontaneous audience of passers-by. 

Prof. Alkis Raftis 

President of the International Dance Council CID 

UNESCO, Paris


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The official message for
Dance Day
29 April 2010

     The United Nations proclaimed 2010 as International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures and designated UNESCO as lead agency in this celebration, having regard to its experience of more than 60 years in advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples.

     Irina Bokova, the new Director-General of UNESCO, has proposed a universal vision, which she has called the “new humanism”; a vision open to the entire human community, providing a humanist response to globalization and crisis, aiming at the safeguarding of social cohesion and the preservation of peace.

     Dance, being a central part of every culture, constitutes the ideal means for bringing together people from different countries. Festivals promote in the most lively manner reciprocal knowledge and respect of diversity; there are hundreds of millions attending international dance festivals each year. Teachers offering classes in foreign countries provide immediate bridges of understanding ingrained into the bodies of dancers; there are tens of thousands of dance teachers crossing national borders yearly. Congresses and open conferences provide opportunities to showcase one's work to an audience of peers; there are dozens of international meetings of dance researchers, historians and critics in any given year.

     Even outside festivals, classes or conferences, simply watching on television a dance from a foreign country offers the most striking, appealing and convincing image of another ethnic group.

For vividly illustrating cultural diversity, for embodying rapprochement, there is no better means than dance.

Prof. Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council CID

UNESCO, Paris

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The official message for
Dance Day
29 April 2009

     The future of dance lies where there are persons who do not dance.

     These belong to two categories: those who simply did not learn, and those who think that they are not able to dance. They represent the greatest challenge for the dance teacher's profession.

     In line with UNESCO's struggle against prejudice and discrimination, we are trying to expand the boundaries of dance and to change the current perception of what a dancer is.

     Dance performances are not necessarily exhibitions of extreme physicality, accurate precision, or bursting emotion - they can be celebrations of interaction between performers. We can enrich dance concerts with dancers, singers, actors, narrators, mimes, acrobats etc., of all ages and all degrees of ability.

     Bringing the 'excluded' into dance is a moral duty, but also opens a great door in times of economic crisis and unemployment. In every country there are millions of persons with physical or mental disabilities. We believe they are ready to dance.

     They will create jobs to thousands of dance teachers. They can be assisted by the Ministry of Health, whose budget is many times bigger than that of the Ministry of Culture.

     Integrating marginalized persons into the practice of dance is as important as integrating them into the workforce.

     CID holds to the philosophy that everyone can dance.

     Dance Day 2009 is dedicated to inclusive dance. Let us include all members of society into our classes and our performances.

Prof. Alkis Raftis 

President of the International Dance Council CID 

UNESCO, Paris

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The official message for
Dance Day
29 April 2008

     Governments, sponsors, and the media is our main concern this year.

     Governments (national, regional or local), sponsors (private or public) and the media (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV) are the three most important factors affecting the practice of our art. Dance professionals struggle to approach them individually - with poor results. We propose a better way: through CID Sections representing all forms of dance, all levels, all functions.

     I invite all dancers to join the International Dance Council and to form CID Sections. These Sections will be able to tackle general issues affecting dance. Through them, as officially recognized bodies, all dancers can secure better conditions for the practice of their art. They will be able to obtain appropriate regulations from governments, adequate support from sponsors, and satisfactory visibility from the media.

     We propose to replace self-centered isolation with concern for the common good. Each one of us has been trying to get some crumbs, by working together we will increase the size of the cake.

     CID is certainly not a trade union, but CID Sections can act as pressure groups on the local and the national level. They can persuade. Their force arises from the fact that they represent the entire spectrum of dance.

     They can convince the environment where dancers evolve that their art is essential for the well-being of every society.

Prof. Alkis Raftis 

President of the International Dance Council CID 

UNESCO, Paris

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The official message for
Dance Day
29 April 2007

     This year's Dance Day is dedicated to the children.

     The International Dance Council CID UNESCO, together with UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, fights for measures to give children the best start in life, because proper education forms the strongest foundation for a person’s future.

     We believe that caring for children is the cornerstone of human progress. Our primary goal is to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. Thus we advance the cause of humanity.

     Dance is a basic component of personal and societal development. We recommend quality basic education in dance for all children with an emphasis on gender equality and eliminating disparities of all kinds.

     No child should be left without the opportunity to learn and to practice dance. Access to the art constitutes a right for every person, and children in particular. This right should be protected, in order to help meet their basic needs and reach their full potential.

     CID upholds dance instruction by qualified teachers at all levels of formal education, because dance constitutes a strong foundation for a person’s well being.

Prof. Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council CID

UNESCO, Paris

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The official message for
Dance Day
29 April 2006

     Dancers are notoriously reluctant to join collective organizations.

     They are probably afraid that organizing will restrict their freedom to express themselves.

     Or they think that the time spent and the membership fee are not worth the benefits gained.

     Many associations or federations have only a few dozen members: a small fraction of the total in their area or field.

     Lacking in representativity they lack credibility, thus they cannot act as interlocutors of governments and other high-level bodies. They cannot inspire confidence in non-members.

     This explains why the art of dance lacking in legislation, in visibility, in financing, when compared to other arts.

     Belonging to a wider structure does not limit the way one performs, or teaches, or researches, or makes choreographies. Without influencing one's everyday work, it improves the framework, the environment of one's action.

     Collective bodies provide a wider spectrum of services to their members. Deprived of such services by acting in isolation, schools, companies, clubs, festivals will remain handicapped.

     CID encourages the strengthening of regional, national or branch associations by enlarging their membership.

     Let us combine our actions, let us orchestrate our music by escaping the cacophony of isolated sounds.

     Dancers of the world, unite!

Prof. Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council

CID, UNESCO, Paris

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The official message for
Dance Day
29 April 2005

     Dear colleagues

     World Dance Day is among the most important projects of the International Dance Council CID.

     This year's focus is on primary education.

     I would like to ask you to contact the Ministry of Education on behalf of the CID, asking them to issue a circular to all schools in your country. You can urge state or private agencies to issue similar guidelines on a regional scale.

     In every class, pupils can write an essay about dance, draw a dance scene, sing dance songs, read relative passages from books, collect pictures (photos, postage stamps, postcards etc.). They can dance in the yard or - better - out in the streets.

     It is extremely important that Dance Day becomes as well known and as widely followed as Mother's Day. And this begins at the youngest ages, who represent the future of our art.

     I count on your cooperation in this matter and look forward to your remarks.

     Cordially



Prof. Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council

CID, UNESCO, Paris

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The official message for
Dance Day
29 April 2004

     Dance is the architecture of human movements

     The architect uses technical materials to create a construction in a particular place. The choreographer uses intangible forms, to create an impression in place and time.

     An architect has two dimensions: he is an engineer and an artist at the same time. An engineer because he thinks rationally (in contrast to the sculptor, who also creates works in a particular place), inasmuch as he his work must have a usable value. His creations are based on an understanding of the behaviour of his materials - he is a technician. But he is also an artist, because he seeks to achieve an aesthetically pleasing result.

     The choreographer, as an architect of movements, is, first of all, a technician. He knows the possibilities of the body (anatomy, physiology, pathology). His knowledge is based on experience, since he has sweated on the dance floor, as the good architect has paced for years on the scaffolding of his building-sites. And of course he must delight the spectator and/or make him think.

     The making of both choreographers and architects requires:

     (a) extensive practical training, "taking the clay in their hands", dancing and teaching dance.

     (b) extensive study, research, reading and reflection, to gain the necessary theoretical equipment.

     How then can one explain the great paradox: Whereas there are university schools for architects in every country, there are no equivalents for choreographers and dance teachers?

     One can count on one's fingers the countries where young people can continue their studies - practical and theoretical at the same time - beyond the age of eighteen. And even there such schools are under-supported and under-resourced.

    One of the lines of action of the International Dance Council CID is to persuade governments to create high level dance departments in universities. It is to this objective that this year's World Dance Day is dedicated.

Prof. Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council

CID, UNESCO, Paris

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The official message for
Dance Day
29 April 2003

     On this special day I would ask all fellow dancers to stop for a second, in order to ponder on global issues concerning dance. There are quite a number of such issues. Here are only some of them.

     There are several countries in the world where dance does not even exist in the eyes of the state. Its practise is barely tolerated. Professional dancers are outcasts of society, amateur dancing is to be seen within the family circle only.

     In more than half of the 200 countries in the world, dance does not appear in legal texts (for better or for worse!). There are no funds allocated in the state budget to support this art form. There is no such thing as dance education, private or public.

     In most cities of the world there is an acute shortage of dance spaces. Unlike music, dance needs considerable room to evolve (on the other hand, dancers do not have to buy instruments - they use their bodies!). Municipal authorities admit that city people need to dance too, but do nothing to provide the spaces required by amateurs or professionals to practice or to perform.

     There are many more issues concerning dance as a whole, whether on a national or international scale. I would not advise choreographers, instructors, performers, students, or one-evening-a-week amateurs to think about these issues too often - and spoil the deep joy that dance provides!

     But on the 29th of April, for a few seconds only, a thought should be given to the unfortunate ones in faraway places whose access to dance is barred or hampered.

     And for the rest of the day, we can look around us and do something to bring dance to those who do not benefit from its charms during the other days of the year.

Prof. Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council

CID, UNESCO, Paris

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The official message for
Dance Day
29 April 2002

     Yo puedo bailar en un templo sin profanarlo (I can dance in a temple without profaning it).

     Vicente Escudero (1892-1980), Spanish flamenco dancer

     These eight words give the essence of good dance. They should be our compass in cases when commercialized dance in the rich countries deviates towards a meaningless sequence of movements.

     Choreography is corrupted by the frantic quest for innovation.

     Dance teaching is degraded by the blind concentration on steps.

     Dance research is impoverished by the idealization of structure analysis.

     Too often we forget to ask ourselves if this or that dance is really beautiful, if it carries values, if it will resist the ultimate test of time.

     Dance in itself is not sacred, but it can stand beside the sacred, as a means to transcend reality, a tool for liberation, a way of acquiring another self.

     Not all creations can be fit to dance in a temple - just as we cannot always wear Sunday clothes. We therefore need to educate the public in developing qualitative criteria: how to tell "Sunday dances" from "everyday dances".

     Our dances should at least be good enough to dance outside a temple.

Prof. Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council

CID, UNESCO, Paris

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The official message for
Dance Day
29 April 2001

     The International Dance Council - CID - dedicates the first year of the century to the introduction of dance in public education.

     Learning dance in traditional societies was done without teachers. Children learned by themselves, copying adults at home, in the neighbourhood, at village feasts and other ceremonies. Most important: children saw that dance matters, that adult dancers were saying something with their dance, something important. When the time came, they entered the public scene officially, demonstrating their ability to express rhythm and song by movements, to evolve in unison with their fellow dancers and to be creative in space with their body.

     Today, very few are the lucky children that have that fortune. In most villages time-honoured celebrations do not take place any more, while at homes parents watch television rather than dance to singing with their children. Most children in the world grow up in towns or near towns, and acquire most of their knowledge in school rather than in the family or the village.

     Dance should not be absent from basic education. Among all arts, it is the most appropriate for today's children, because it forms body and soul concurrently. No wonder it was an integral part of the cultured man in Ancient Greece. It is not enough just having dance in the curriculum; it must be taught as a meaningful activity, a vital means of communication - not as a dead language.

     We urge the Ministries of Education of all countries to elaborate programs taking into account the views of specialists. I would like to ask every member of the C.I.D. world-wide, every dance person, every educator, to contribute to the introduction of dance in primary and secondary education.

Prof. Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council

CID, UNESCO, Paris

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The official message for
Dance Day
29 April 2000

     In this last year of the 20th century, it is imperative to look back and attempt a bird’s eye view of the course of events regarding dance in the last hundred years.

     Two major events will distinguish this past century’s state of the dance on a world-wide perspective. Two new dance genres emerged at its outset, grew consistently throughout its span, and had created a new space for their respective forms by the end of the twentieth century: folk and modern dance.

     Folk dance appeared when amateur dancers in the cities discovered they could practice traditional, that is peasant, dances for recreation and for stage presentation. These same dances were being abandoned steadily by their original practitioners, the rural populations in traditional cultures.

     Modern dance was born when professional dancers rejected the constraints of classical ballet and presented performances based on individual expression and their concepts of what constituted free movement.

     During this century, classical ballet gained in variety, depth and refinement, in perfecting its incomparable technique, and in spreading to many countries who had not known it before.

     Ballroom dance acquired new friends and new methods, and expanded into the novel field of competition dance. Its “closed couple” dances found a counterpart in popular dance fashions that swept the youth of the world, like rock ‘n’ roll and discothèques.

     It was a century of renaissance and “naissance” in dance.

     Turning now to the next century, we would like to see:

      - More communication between families of dance, though not abolishing the borderlines between them.

      - Return to the ancestral global vision of dance, as part of an event incorporating music, movement, theater, song. Arts have shown a marked tendency to isolate themselves; they lose their poetic content in the process.

      - More knowledge of the past, more consciousness of belonging to a line of evolution. There has been a rampant idolization of innovation. Even the wildest revolutionaries should know well what they revolt against. Even the most inspired creators cannot do without the study of their predecessors.

      - More visibility for dance. In the past centuries dance used to be omnipresent in private and public life, while during this century its practice has retracted. Now sports have audiences ten times larger than dance.

     The recent boom of the last two decades is evidence supporting an optimistic view of the future, for amateur as well as for professional dancers.

Prof. Alkis Raftis

President of the International Dance Council

CID, UNESCO, Paris

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1. The official message for Dance Day is mailed to over 150,000 dance professionals in 200 countries. It is translated to dozens of languages. Please ask for a translation, or translate the message to the language of your country; send it to dance organizations and the media. You can find guidelines and previous messages at www.cid-portal.org

2. World Dance Day, every year on 29 April, established in 1982 and promoted by CID, aims at attracting attention to the art of dance. It is celebrated by millions of dancers around the globe. On that day, dance companies, dance schools, organizations and individuals, professionals as well as amateurs, organize an activity addressing an audience different from their usual one.

3. The International Dance Council is the official organization for all forms of dance in all countries of the world.

- CID is recognized by UNESCO, national and local governments, international organizations and institutions.

- Its members are the most prominent federations, associations, schools, companies and individuals active in dance in more than 150 countries.

- CID was founded in 1973 within the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, where it is based.

- UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

International Dance Council - CID - Conseil International de la Danse
UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, FR-75732 Paris, France

 

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