The art of dance

DANCE IS a medium that cuts across language and culture to be universally understood as it is often referred to as the language of the soul. Across the world dance has been a form of expression and an integral part of several cultures.

By Vijaya Sukumar (Contributor)

Published: Tue 24 Apr 2007, 11:04 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:48 PM

In order to give dance its due as an art form the International Dance Committee founded the International Dance Day, in 1982. Celebrated every year on the 29th of April, the date commemorates the birthday of Jean- Georges Noverre, who was born in 1727 and was a great reformer of dance.

Every year a message from a renowned dance personality is circulated worldwide. The intention of International Dance Day and the message is to bring all dance together on this day, to celebrate and revel in its universality, to cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers; to bring people together in peace and friendship with a common language: Dance.

Keeping in mind these very sentiments, Bharatanatyam Dancer Tripti Bhupen started organising the ‘Dance of Life’ Festival under the banner of Samarpan and Our Own English High School- Dubai, in conjunction with the World Dance Council, CID- UNESCO France. 'I thought The World Dance Day had to be promoted as dance gives us so much joy! When I started the festival the message I got from Prof. Alkis Raftis. President, World Dance Council was to go to schools and let children know what dance forms are as it is sadly being neglected. Dance brings out the authenticity of each culture hence we emphasise the involvement of schools. We have schools from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain participating. In Dubai the multicultural society gives me a better opportunity to share diverse forms of dance so wherever I am I always make it a point to return to Dubai for the celebration of the World Dance Day.'

At the outset the ‘Dance of Life’ commenced with three day activities and performances’ with about a 100 artists and students participating. Last year saw the numbers swelling to a 200 participants. Lasting for a week the events encompassed workshops, exhibitions and performances. Wholehearted participation of children from the Al Noor, Dubai the Centre for special needs children was the highlight of the 2006 festival. The visiting artistes from India spent a whole morning with these children, performing and interacting with them. Students of Al Noor presented their Art works for the exhibition and also participated in the Dance performance.

This year the Festival began on April 23 with a Folk dance workshop conducted by Folk artistes from Samarpan, Ahmedabad. The workshop also aims towards reaching out the Indian Folk culture to those who have never seen or experienced it. Last year the girls of Wellington International School learnt a Gujarati Folk dance and performed it during the Festival. Efforts are being made to involve some Arab students also for the workshop.

Our Own English High School, Dubai will host an exhibition of art works on World Dance by students, professionals as well as some well-known artists of UAE on April 25. The Exhibition will then move to the Wellington International School Auditorium foyer from April 27 to 29, where the dance performances will take place, which will truly depict and celebrate the spirit of World Dance Day. Dance programmes will commence with the World Dance on April 27, where in there will be performances by International Dancers. This year’s performers include Egyptian, Arabic, Palestinian, Contemporary, Indian, Iranian and others.

Indian Classical Dance Ensemble is the flavour on April 28. The group comprises of dance professionals devoted to different forms of Indian Classical Dances. This will also see a unique fusion of five different dance styles i.e. Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Mohini Attam, and Kathak. Besides performing to the traditional dance songs, artistes will come together and perform two pieces specially put together by Tripti Bhupen.

The Festival will conclude on 29th with the programme entitled ‘The Dance of Life’. This will witness performances by school children from U.A.E. Participants will perform classical, semi classical and folk dances.

Trupti concludes, 'This Festival is not just an effort to create awareness about the World Dance Day in this part of the Globe but is also to show our gratitude towards the Fine Art of Dance and to create, express and share the beauty of various Dance styles of the World. Bringing the artists and audiences of different cultures and traditions closer, this Festival also speaks the language of peace and harmony- expressing the most refined sentiments of us as humans that is, of Love & Joy.'

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