International Dance Day

International Dance Day - Monday, April 29, 2024

Arts & Entertainment Activities Fun

April 29 is International Dance Day, so put your dancing shoes on and get ready to step out. Dancing is universal — woven into virtually every society all over the world. Humans simply love dance. It brings us together whether we are the ones on the dance floor or are watching the professional performance of others. Dancing is exhilarating and impressive. Let’s honor the world of dance today, together!

The art of dance is one of the earliest and longest-standing forms of entertainment and community activity known to humankind. While it continues to be practiced by millions of people daily, Dance Day is a precise moment in the calendar where everyone is invited to take part in an extremely enjoyable pastime. Even those with two left feet.

Dance is one of the ultimate activities to destress, lose inhibitions, meet new people, and boost physical health. The annual tradition encapsulates people around the globe, from professional dancers to individuals that would usually stand well back.

Take your passion and make it happen this Dance Day.

History of Dance Day

The art of dance can be traced back at least 9,000 years to ancient Indian paintings, while ceremonial dances appeared in many other ancient cultures. It has been a central ingredient in human life ever since with everyone from tribespeople to professional entertainers showcasing their talents. The great thing is that it can be enjoyed by everybody regardless of their natural rhythm or dance capabilities. Dance Day aims to celebrate a world of dance.

In addition to encouraging dance from participants of all ability levels, Dance Day is a true global celebration that breaks down barriers to bring people together. Every dance is welcomed with open arms from traditional ceremonial dances like the Haka, Rejang dance, and Kagura to modern street dance and jumpstyle electronic dance. It includes dances that are steeped in heritage as well as contemporary styles that borrow attributes from various sources.

Kizomba, jazz dance, American rhythm, Latin, ballet, and country dances can be enjoyed on the day by solo dancers, duets, small groups, or huge collectives. Dance Day celebrates the free and unrestricted nature of dance, as well as the concepts of working together and celebrating cultural differences while also realizing that we are all united. Dance is one of the best ways to introduce people to other traditions and can help people connect to others. The annual event serves as the flag-bearer for all of those features and more.

Billions enjoy the art form and millions come together to celebrate this very specific date in the calendar. Its popularity has grown at a significant rate and is expected to hit even greater heights in the coming years

History of Dance Day

While the history of dance goes back thousands of years, the official Dance Day ceremonies only launched in 1982. With Flashdance hitting the silver screens the following year, the event could not have started at a better time. After all, millions around the globe suddenly discovered their heightened love of the art shortly after leaving the cinemas.

Ever since its original event, the annual celebration is for amateurs and professionals, encouraging participants to enjoy their favorite styles and routines while simultaneously broadening their knowledge by embracing other dances and cultures. There’s a chance to be stunned by the quality of other dancers while also enjoying the lighthearted novelty dances and comedy routines. For most, the inevitable mistakes that occur when trying to learn new dances are a source of laughs while still being a great way to develop new talents.

Dance Day itself is organized by Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), who are partnered to UNESCO. This underlines the status of the celebrations. The annual events occur on the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (the creator of modern ballet). 

Each year’s celebration (excluding 1983; they were probably out watching Flashdance) includes a message from a special guest of honor. The inaugural message was provided by Henrik Neubauer, while other guests throughout the years have included Chetna Jalan, Germaine Acogny, Murray Lewis, Kazuo Ohno, Stephen Page, Sasha Waltz, Lin Hwai-min, and Trisha Brown.

Dance Day’s flagship event is a ceremonial gala held by the Executive Council of the International Theatre Institute. The venue for this showpiece ceremony changes each year, but the celebrations as a whole can be enjoyed by anybody, anywhere. The concept that dance is for everyone is the focal point in everything that the day stands for.

As far as globally-celebrated events are concerned, this is one of the most anticipated by creatives around the world, not least because it has always been heavily-focused on unity and accessibility. Regardless of backgrounds (financial or cultural), the day can be enjoyed by everyone. Except maybe the guy in that Meghan Trainor song.

How to celebrate Dance Day

When looking for ways to enjoy Dance Day, the best advice comes from Lady Gaga. Just dance!

Thousands of performances and hardcore dance fans may flock to the country of the Gala each year, but the whole point of the event is that it can be enjoyed by everyone in their own way. For members that are part of a group or class, this is the perfect to put on an event at the local hall or even on the street. Street performances can attract a lot of donations, especially when the Dance Day celebrations are promoted – just remember that sharing $100 between five people is a lot more enjoyable than splitting it between 43.

Ultimately, though, everyone has their personal relationship with the art of dance. There are literally no limitations to how Dance Day can be celebrated. Even individuals stuck at home can partake in the experiences of the day. Reading up on the traditions of a dance online can be supported by watching the latest addition to the Step Up franchise or learning new dance moves via video tutorials. The event is a great excuse to watch a local show or invest in new dance shoes too. After all, the true success of the event is that it encourages people to take dance more seriously in their day-to-day lives.

Whether the celebrations are enjoyed alone or with others, it’s never a bad idea to tune into the streams of the ceremony, or at least catch up on them later on. Another top tip for performers is to record some dances on this day and then revisit them next year. The progress that can be made in 12 months is mind-blowing.

History of International Dance Day

The Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) established April 29 as International Dance Day in 1982 to highlight the amazing diversity and talent of dancers all over the globe. This date was chosen because it marks the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), the creator of modern ballet.

The International Theatre Institute created this holiday to promote dance across the world, to make people aware of the value of dance, and to enable the dance community to promote their work on a broad scale. The hope is for governments and opinion leaders to become increasingly aware of the value and importance of dance in all its forms and support it. On top of all this, International Dance Day was created for us to just enjoy dance for what it is and share the joy with others.

Every year the ITI selects an exemplary choreographer or dancer to write the official holiday message. Their website lists the location of their annual gala as well as other advertised events worldwide.

Evidence of dance has been found dating back 9,000 years and it has grown into a worldwide phenomenon. This holiday encourages people to celebrate their favorite type of dance while also learning new styles.  There are dance styles for people of all ages and rhythm capabilities; so there’s no excuse for you not to get involved.

International Dance Day timeline


Dancing with the Stars debuts

Now in its 28th season, Dancing with the Stars debuted in 2005, capturing America’s love of dancing on the small screen by pairing a celebrity with a professional dancer while the viewers vote for their favorite dancers throughout the season.


Dance Craze all the rage

With the rise in popularity of pop music, fad dances proliferated during these decades; have you heard of the Twist? the Mashed Potato? the Dog? the Hitch Hike?


Pointe shoes on point

Marie Taglioni premiers pointe shoes during her ballet performance in “La Sylphide”.

3300 BC

The first trace of dance

The earliest signs of dance are found painted on Egyptian tombs and Indian rock walls.

International Dance Day FAQs

How many people become professional dancers?

​Only 3% – 10% of those who audition for a dance school or performing arts company actually go on to become professional dancers.

How long do professional dancers work?

Due to the physicality of dance and the toll it takes on their bodies, most professional dancers retire by their mid-thirties.

What is a Principal Dancer?

The highest-ranking dancer in a professional dance company, most commonly in ballet.

5 Types Of Dance Around The World

  1. ​Ballet

    Often referred to as the backbone of dance, ballet focuses on techniques that require a great deal of dedication to master.

  2. ​Hip-Hop

    Created in the 1970s, hip-hop went mainstream during the 1980s with styles known as breaking, popping, and locking.

  3. ​Salsa

    ​The signature hip moves in Salsa dancing come from the dancer stepping while keeping their upper body still and level.

  4. ​Bharatanatyam

    This traditional South Indian dance originated in Hindu temples and dates back to 1000 BC; it is usually a solo dance performed by women expressing religious and spiritual ideas.

  5. Dragon Dance

    ​A famous Chinese dance performed by dancers using poles to hold a long, flexible dragon figure; the longer the dragon, the more luck it is believed to bring to the community.

International Dance Day Activities

  1. Take a class

    Have you ever tried Tango? How about Zambian dance? What about Lindy Hop? Maybe you aren’t really a big dancer but, don't worry, beginner classes are very forgiving. Regardless of your skill level, today is your day to broaden your horizons! Try a dance style you've never tried before.

  2. See a show

    Dance performances often feature beautiful costumes, bright colors, and amazing sets. The highest-grossing Broadway show, Lion King, has been seen by over 100 million people since it began in 1997. Even if you cannot see a show in person today, visit the International Theatre Institute’s website for videos featuring a variety of dance styles from around the world.

  3. Encourage young dancers

    Children can begin dance lessons at a very young age. Those who enjoy it and stick with it reap many benefits such as improved physical fitness, higher self-confidence, greater ability to listen and understand instructions, and stronger determination to persevere. Encourage your children to take a chance on dancing!

Why We Love International Dance Day

  1. Confidence booster

    Did you know dancing increases feelings of self-worth? A 2007 study showed children ages 11 to 14 who took creative movement classes reported improved motivation and attitudes. So, boost your confidence and get your groove on.

  2. Brain booster

    Just five minutes of dancing can increase your creativity. Dancers in one study showed improvements in both mood and creative problem-solving.

  3. It's good exercise

    Dancing can burn calories. Plus, you'll never get bored with your workout. Once you get the basics down, there's a whole world of options.

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