International Dance Day 2024

UNESCO’s Official Message for Dance Day 2024

Dance is by its nature a pleasant, creative and beneficial activity – why would some people spoil the fun? Because they want to make money by cheating dancers. I use this opportunity to advise dancers to be vigilant, there is too much fraud in the internet.

– Events that have hidden fees or expenses – but they do not tell you from the beginning
– Schools that do not have the classes they advertise – they will try to organize them after you pay
– Teachers that teach without having been taught – they learn from their mistakes while teaching you
– False titles of studies or positions – a sure bet, who is going to check?
– Organizations with impressive names (national, international, world etc.) that are nothing but private businesses – you do not vote for their leaders
– Competitions where all contestants win a title – everyone a champion!
– Festivals that do not take place – you find out after arriving there

The above is only misinformation concerning dance, we did not touch the huge subject of general misinformation. You cannot stop fraudsters but you can stop people from becoming their victim. So, stick to what you know well and what you can verify for sure.

Prof. Dr. Alkis Raftis
President of the International Dance Council

Alberta’s Provincial Messages for Dance Day 2024


On this joyous occasion, the Alberta Dance Alliance is proud to amplify the voices of two remarkable dance artists who embody the spirit of diversity and equity-seeking in dance. As we come together to honor the transformative power of movement, let us heed their words of wisdom and inspiration.

On this International Dance Day, let us heed the words of Usha Gupta and Rebecca Bissonnette, as we dance towards a future where diversity is celebrated and equity is achieved. Together, let us move with purpose, with passion, and with a commitment to building a more inclusive dance community for generations to come.

Rebecca Bissonnette


Happy International Dance Day 2024, you all. My name is Rebecca Bissonnette, and I welcome you into my creative space. I feel like every artist should have a creative space. And as a dancer, yep, you heard me. As a 46-year-old, over 250 pounds, queer dancer, I mean, listen to that. That was beautiful, just to say out loud. Because for the longest time, friends, I didn’t think that dance was very accessible. Growing up, I didn’t look like all the other girls. I didn’t look like all the other dancers. So, I really took that inside and it really hurt because I love, love to dance. And I truly believe that every “body” is a dance body. And I also believe that dance friends really are the best friends.

So that is why, in 2024, I feel so excited to say that I am part of not one, not two, but three different organizations that truly celebrate the diversity and the equity that dance can represent. The context just grows bigger and bigger by the day. And I love that little Rebecca is now able to look ahead or look behind; I mean, time travel is fun. But I’m able to say to little Rebeccas or little whatever your name might be and say that, hey, it’s changing. The landscape of dance is truly changing, and with that being said, I am so happy to be a part of organizations that are not only embracing that but they want to lead that.

I’m the operations manager for CRIPSiE. So, I love, love, love being a part of the CRIPSiE community, because often members of the CRIPSiE community are people that aren’t, quite frankly, considered artists. And that…that’s not okay. I feel like the context of accessibility needs to be so much bigger. And I love that CRIPSiE is part of changing that landscape. So, things like, is the dance floor accessible? If there isn’t first-floor access, can someone safely get up to the next floor with a ramp or maybe an elevator? Or do you have someone doing transcription for somebody who maybe needs a little help if their hearing isn’t so great? Maybe you need steps broken down for you? Because maybe English isn’t your first language, or maybe you have a traumatic brain injury, so you need things broken down into smaller steps that make more sense to you, right? And these are just three, only three, of the things that CRIPSiE is working to provide. I truly believe that anybody that wants to move their body should be able to. It doesn’t matter what your body looks like, how your body moves, what kind of movement you want to do. You should be able to, plain and simple.

I’m also very happy to be a part of F. A. C. E., which stands for Fierce and Curvy Empire. So, as a fuller-figured dancer, I’ve often been looked down upon, saying, oh, really? She thinks she’s a dancer? Can she really move? Yes, I can. Yes, I can. So, I love being able to bring dance to bodies that were often looked upon like mine. Because again, every body is a dance body. If you’re 3 feet tall, 10 feet tall, 90 pounds, 600 pounds, if you can dance circles around somebody and take small steps because that’s what your body lets you do, it shouldn’t matter.

I love getting to expand the context of accessibility and also include things like, Okay, my knees aren’t the greatest. Can you modify this step so that I can still look like I’m doing the step that you are? Okay, I’ve got more weight around my middle, around my stomach. I don’t feel comfortable doing that kind of body roll. Can we modify that or do something quite simple? And things like looking in the lobby of the dance studio you are going into and seeing if there are chairs where I can sit and wait? I know that sounds like a question that some of us take for granted, but some places don’t even take it into consideration. So, size does not affect ability Whatsoever.

Last but definitely not least is Mile Zero Dance. We probably know them as this wonderful, beautiful, contemporary ballet company, which they are. But, I love the residency, the outreach piece of Mile Zero Dance, because I love getting to take my love of dance out into the world and to other adults who may have never danced before or thought, ooh, I thought that was only for advanced dancers, maybe there’s something for beginners or taking it out into schools and getting to show children that telling a story doesn’t always have to use your voice. Sometimes, you can tell a story with your body, True. So I love that that message is getting out to the youth and adults who want to hear it.

So again, on International Dance Day 2024, I, Rebecca Bissonette, still and will always believe every “body” is a dance body. So, let’s get our bodies on the dance floor, shall we? I’ll see you there.

Usha Gupta


In the fluid movements of dance, we find the rhythm of unity.

As an Edmonton Indian classical dancer, I’ve seen how the art of movement transcends borders, languages, and cultures, weaving a tapestry of diversity and inclusion.

When I came to Edmonton from India in 1989 I did not know what modern or contemporary was. But those forms opened my mind to different ideas and content I could explore with Kathak. I believe that as an artist, whatever you think, you can present.

In every step and every gesture of dance, there is a celebration of diversity. Whether it is Kathak’s expressive storytelling or Bharatnatyam’s graceful eye movements, dance speaks a language that knows no boundaries. For me, dance has never been just about performing, but it has been a powerful tool to get my message across to the world. In my recent show Khoj or “Quest” in English, I got the idea to do it while standing at the ocean in Maui a few years back and thinking, My god, this ocean is endless! And some things never are. Just as waves in the ocean are endless, so is the journey of diversity and equity-seeking in dance. It is a continuous flow of process and transformation. With every movement, we embrace so many possibilities of inclusion, welcoming dancers from every background, identity, and experience. So, whenever you look at an ocean or a sea, always remember our Khoj or quest for diversity and equity in dance knows no bounds. Just like the ocean, dance has no final destination. Instead, it’s an ever-going journey towards a more inclusive and equitable dance community for all.

Let us dance not just for applause but for change. Let us use our art to build bridges, foster understanding, and create a world where everyone can dance freely, regardless of their background or identity.


Happy International Dance Day 2024 Everyone!


Usha Gupta