Celebrating Life With Dance
International Dance Day (IDD) provides an ideal platform for the NZ dance community to demonstrate how big and important dance is and the value of it to our society. A national celebration of dance strengthens the dance community and increases the visibility of dance as an activity that attracts huge numbers of participation in Aotearoa. It was great to see IDD celebrations take place throughout the country this year in Wellington, Dunedin and Nelson.
Students of A Star Academy of the Arts in Nelson participated in a diverse range of international dance styles. They are the first students in NZ to be members of the World Irish Dance Association and celebrations of dance are not new to the school, having celebrated St. Patrick's Day earlier this year. A Star celebrated IDD for the first time this year with an event held on International Dance Day itself. Students from 5 years upwards gathered together to showcase their different dance styles, which included Ballet, Cheerleading, Irish, Acrobatics and Jazz.
In Dunedin, the joy of dance was to the fore as DANZ and Toitu Otago Settlers Museum combined forces, with funding from Otago Community Trust. The free Dunedin celebration was held on 3 May and featured performers from a wide range of the city’s dance groups. Dunedin dancer and teacher Susan Renner demonstrated dancing techniques for people over 55 years; a taster for the Ageing Gracefully programme of dance classes to be held later in the year.
Wellington’s YouthDance Education Trust, winners of the 2013 Wellington Airport Regional Community Award for Arts & Culture, held their 15th International Dance Day celebration on Sunday 3 May at Te Papa. Many hundreds of keen dancers entered into the spirit of International Dance Day and embraced the opportunity to experience dances from different cultural communities including Polish, South American, African, Filipino, Irish, and Spanish. With dance workshops ranging from Hula to Hip Hop, Capoeira to Contemporary, there was something for everyone. The day finished with a performance on The Marae with a capacity crowd of more than 500.
Spanish flamenco dancer and choreographer Israel Galván’s message for IDD highlighted the energy of dance and its healing effects, as he urged the world to dance together. This spirit was strong in all these events as dancers of all ages and abilities, and from many dance traditions, stepped out to celebrate life with dance.
International Dance Day Message 2015 (Excerpt)
‘When I was small I didn't like dance, but it was something that came out of me naturally and easily, almost instinctively. Over time I realised that dance healed, it had an almost medicinal effect, it helped me to not be so introverted and opened me up to other people . . .
And the thing is that I see people moving when walking down the street, when calling a taxi, when moving in their different ways, styles and deformities. They're all dancing! They don't know it but they're all dancing!
Read Israel Galván’s full message here
Read DANZ Magazine article Growing NZ International Dance Day Celebrations