International Dance Day 2020

Alberta’s Official Messages

Official Messages for International Dance Day 2020 from Alberta

Wunmi Idowu

Artistic Director
Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre Inc.

We are here. Bathed in uniqueness, pulsating with vibrant artistic traditions.

If you were to hold up a mirror to your soul what would you see? Would the mirror reflect a similar image if held up to the soul of your city, your home?

There is a disconnect between the existence and visibility of African diaspora in the Calgary arts scene. The intrinsic structures, rhythms, tones and textures that shape and enrich African cultures are scarcely represented in the visual, performing, and literary arts mainstream. Art making for Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre Inc. became more than a question of what is being presented but how can we provide a unique opportunity for space making and a system breaking in the prairie region.

As I continue in my artistic practice, I am catalyzed by the desire to propel the arts to include topics that are often relegated to the margins of history and criticism. It begins with actively pursuing a shift in the canon rather than asking for permission for our voices and presence to be visible, scalable and impactful. This is an essential component in igniting critical moments of discovery and change among groups of people.

Dance has the power to transform culture and consciousness. It opens us up to an incredible sense of power that comes from the freedom of self-expression, demystifying the origins of modern dance forms to educate communities about other cultural nuances, and celebrating our creative spirit. The ever-growing reception to preserving the African culture in Calgary and Canada exhibits the powers and possibilities of dance as a tool of dialogue and deliberation of social, political, personal, and spiritual concerns.

My endeavors in dance continue to center around the idea of representing and communicating a sense of oneness that ensures that we do not lose our culture and inheritance for our children and our children’s children. Dance gives birth to our limitless potential, providing a window of investigation into the fears, questions, and desires that lurk amongst our personal closets of thought, perception, and spirit. Dance for me is survival and the privilege to live exclusively as an artist gives testament to the continual fulfillment of my life’s purpose. Undeniably, dance provides an avenue for healing; igniting sensations of freedom and applied effort while acknowledging moments of vulnerability and openness that are at the root of humanity and artistic expression.

Wunmi Idowu, Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre Inc. |
Facebook: @WoezoAfrica / Insta: @WoezoAfrica

Yukichi Hattori

Choreographer & Co-Founder
H/W School of Ballet

What is dance? I ask this question to my students and myself all the time. Emotion envisioned? Music translated to a movement? Passion that can not be contained? A way of communication?

There are so many answers to this question and all of them seem correct and wrong at the same time. Maybe if you could put it to words, it would deny the very nature of what dance is.

The only undeniable truth about it is that every living thing moves. Movement is a driving force for everything. Sound is movement. Energy is movement. Emotion is movement. Time is movement.

You could almost say dance is life itself. Just like black and white, moving, not moving and everything in between. There are infinite amounts of shade between the two extremities and therefore, the answer to “what is dance” is also infinite.

To celebrate dance is equivalent to celebrating life. As long as lifeforms exist, there is dance. To deny dance is like denying life. Dancer is not a profession. We have all seen different animals do their “dance”. It is not just for human beings.

We sometimes worry if dance will exist without patrons and sponsors. Set pieces, lighting, props, music, etc. All these things are great tools to make dance sophisticated, tell a great story, create an atmosphere. No matter what happens in the future, dance is still dance without any of it. As long as life exists, there will be dance.

Let’s keep dancing. So we keep living . Together.

Yukichi Hattori, Choreographer and H/W School of Ballet |
Facebook: @HWBallet / Insta: @hattoriwilliamson

Kimberley Cooper

Artistic Director
Decidedly Jazz Danceworks

My Fellow Dancers,
don’t forget
what we have in us
how it feels to get down and to soar
to laugh and cry with our bodies
and how we can physically speak in ways even poetry can’t
don’t forget
and what it feels like to sync with other bodies
harmonize breath
to take up space
to embody music
the deliciousness of becoming those beats, that riff, that groove
how history lives through us
that our blood, muscles and bones carry deep knowledge
that we are alchemists, inventers, shape shifters
how watching us move can change how people think, feel, live
that many envy us
the richness of our lives, what burns in us
as we do not sit idle
but when we do, we can express a 500-page novel with our little fingers
know that in whatever comes, we will be looked upon for comfort and solutions
don’t forget
to keep listening
to whatever lights that fire
your pulse, wind, white noise, jazz music
to trust our ancestors
real and imagined
that through war and famine
through enslavement and desolation
through thick and thin
dance has survived
it will always be ours
to confide in that elusive in the moment magic we have in us and always will
in how we walk
how we hold our heads
and in my circles, how we can’t help but to respond to music
please don’t forget
this thing we have
in this moment
it may be contained
it may be resting
but it’s in us and it will rise again

Kim Cooper, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks |
Facebook: @DecidedlyJazz / Insta: @DecidedlyJazz

Wen Wei Wang

Artistic Director
Ballet Edmonton

On this day we celebrate dance.

We celebrate the art of telling our stories with the body through the language of movement.

On this day we celebrate dancers who dedicate their lives to learning and growing and trying and reaching and being in the moment. They bring themselves to the work with so much beauty, skill and humanity.

On this day, we celebrate the creators who dream, who search, who long to say something, who find new language in every body they move.

On this day we celebrate the lighting and costume designers whose work illuminates, shapes, colors and intensifies the stories we tell – they are dancing with us.

On this day we celebrate the community who gathers to watch us, to listen, to ask questions, to weep, to laugh and to bear witness to everything we offer them.

And on this day we celebrate all the art that is born in Alberta, Canada and around the world.

We are all dancing to the beat of our own hearts.

Wen Wei Wang, Ballet Edmonton
Facebook: @BalletEdmonton / Insta: @balletedmonton

Tara Wilson

Creative Director
Pulse Studios

Thank you DANCE for all you given me:

The gift of connecting to everything that is REAL:
What is more real than the human body?
What is more real than the connection we feel when we dance together?
What is more real than feeling the blood moving through your muscles and organs?
What is more real than the connection of mind and body as we navigate endless patterns of movement?
What is more real than falling through space, landing on the earth and breathing in the air?

Thank you for the moments that have inspired me, motivated me, healed me, cleansed me and taught me.

Thank you for the gift of raising my vibration into my BEST SELF:
A way of sharing my energy, speaking about my life experience, sharing my present state, connecting with others as the most pure form of myself – the body doesn’t lie!

Thank you for the gift of raising up my community and fellow humans: A way to help others, to serve and to effect change.

Thank you for filling me with love and compassion and joy and pain and anger and frustration and sadness and hunger. You have reminded me that I am ALIVE!

I am grateful.

Tara Wilson, Pulse Studios |
Facebook: @PulseStudiosCalgary / Insta: @PulseStudiosCalgary

Rebecca Sadowski

Métis Dance and Theatre Artist

This is Rebecca Sadowski- Métis dance and theatre artist from Edmonton Alberta. I wanted to give a big Happy international Dance Day to all of my fellow creators and dance artists out there.

If you’re like me right now, you’re at home and seeking connection to your community and to finding ways to navigate your way around this space we find ourselves in currently. I remind myself that this space has purpose, it is giving room for important work to be done, for healing, and for the earth to breathe. So I encourage you to find ways of connection whether that be virtually taking a class, or talking with loved ones and other artists about your work, or finding connection within yourself and your own bodies. It’s a vulnerable time, and remember to be gentle with yourselves and the expectations you have in your creative practises. Some days are more productive than others, but all of this time and space is okay and is completely valid. All the best to you today, dancers.

Rebecca Sadowski


Submit your International Dance Day event to:


Ukrainian Shumka Dancers & Shumka School of Dance

Isolation Hopak

In celebration of International Dance Day, the Shumka Dancers present Isolation Hopak, a compilation of Classic Hopak choreography performed by members of the company in isolation, and edited together by the fine eye of Senior Creative Director Les Sereda.

Shumka means “whirlwind,” a powerful display of artistry, energy and emotion through dance. Through their 60-year history, and after decades of performances near and far, the whirlwind has truly brought Ukrainian-Canadian heritage to the world and community together.

“These are trying times but we also know our community wants to see Shumka survive these hardships and come out stronger than ever”, says Executive Director Darka Tarnawsky. “If you are someone who is able to consider a gift of support during International Dance Day, rest assured your generosity will go a long way to keep the whirlwind moving. Consider supporting Shumka in this time of uncertainty. For as little as $25 per month, you can help us keep our boots moving!”

Even though the whirlwind is currently on pause, Shumka remains committed to doing everything they can to continue serving the community while supporting their dedicated dancers, instructors, and staff who are all part of preserving the Shumka legacy. From regular online rehearsals involving 50 dancers in homes around the Edmonton area, to video dance instruction custom-made for each Shumka School dance class; from online ballet and Ukrainian dance programs connecting seniors through remaining active, to choreography and craft challenges for young Ukrainian dancers across the globe; from complimentary access to video of past Shumka productions, to our upcoming Ukrainian dance workshops open to this new online world we live in, they are adapting their programming to the unique situation of today. It is as close as they can get to “the real thing,” but knowing it isn’t the same.

Shumka has temporarily postponed its Spring 2020 Shumka 60 On Tour dates until Fall 2020.

Edge Studios

Opens its Doors to the World for International Dance Day

Edge Studios, in Calgary, Alberta, opens its Zoom enhanced studio doors to the community and the world, for this year’s International Dance Day, Wednesday, April 29. This is an exciting first for the studio.

Free dance classes for dancers will be offered at the junior level ages nine to 11, intermediate for ages 11 up and advanced for 14 plus. To participate in these classes all that dancers will need is the free Zoom app.

Read more about Edge Studios digital dance class endeavour here on their blog!

Ballet Classes with Caitlin Lockwood

4-5 pm MST Junior Ballet Class Ages 9-11 (Zoom ID: 95365810065)

5:15- 6:15 pm MST Intermediate Ballet Class Ages 11 plus (Zoom ID: 95284567671)

6:30-7:30 pm MST Advanced Ballet Classes Ages 14 plus (Zoom ID: 98065576658)

Classes with Rylee Fieldstone

4-5 pm MST Intermediate Lyrical Ages 11 plus (Zoom ID: 74314127340)

5:15- 6:15 pm MST Junior Jazz Ages 9-11 (Zoom ID: 71493930648)

 Classes with Kirsten Wicklund

4:30-5:30 pm MST Professional Insight Q&A

5:15-6:15 pm MST Yoga for Dancers

Classes with Amy Gardner

5:15-6:15 pm MST Intermediate/ Senior Urban Contemporary (Zoom ID: 88904144020)

6:30-7:30 pm MST Improve All Levels (Zoom ID: 83572502178)

Register Now!

To register and receive links and passcodes:

Send a Direct Message on Instagram to edgestudiosyyc

Or email Cyndi Scott

Ballet Edmonton

Ballet Edmonton will host a live ballet class, taught by two of our dancers, Yoko Kanomata, and Diego Ramalho. They will be teaching from our studios, and it will be streamed from our Ballet Edmonton Facebook Page.

Orchesis Dance Performance Group

Please join us on Saturday, April 25 for an online workshop to celebrate #internationaldanceday2020!

In addition, please enjoy this: The official 2020 IDD UNESCO Message


Before film and video, dance used to be “the evanescent art” – choreographies throughout history have disappeared while masterpieces of painting, sculpture, poetry, or theater remain for thousands of years. The widespread use of video has revolutionized the art of dance; its contribution is invaluable.

Dance Day 2020 is celebrated in cooperation with the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication (CICT/ICFT), a partner of UNESCO just like CID. The general theme is “Youth-Dance-Video.” Choreographers and dance school directors are encouraged to produce a work executed by dancers under 18, record it on video and send it to be screened at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

This short choreographic piece should be inspired by values defended by UNESCO; for example: intercultural and interreligious dialogue; anti-doping; promoting shared history and memory for reconciliation; protect, promote, and transmit heritage; culture of peace, non-violence, and sustainable development; poverty, climate change, natural disasters, and social inequities.

You will find more values, such as equality, democracy, peace, and human values, at the portals of UNESCO and the United Nations. The challenge is how to portray such abstract notions through concerted movement on stage. The most important objective is for your young dancers to understand the importance of one or more of these values and to engage in expressing them.

On Dance Day the attention of the world is directed towards the art of dance. Video serves us immensely as a simple means for recording and disseminating our creative work. This year, dance and video will combine in celebrating the uplifting of humanity towards the noble goals set by its summit organizations.


Alkis Raftis
President of the International Dance Council


Dance Day, every year on 29 April, established in 1982 and coordinated 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 professionals organize an activity addressing an audience different from their usual one.

  • The International Dance Council CID is the official organization for all forms of dance in all countries of the world.
  • Its members are the most prominent federations, associations, schools, companies and individuals in more than 170 countries.
  • CID was founded in 1973 within the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, where it is based.
  • CID is official partner of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.