International Day of Dance

April 20, 2021

International Dance Day (or World Dance Day) is celebrated every year on 29th April to promote Art and Culture and to raise awareness among the public regarding the art of dance. The day was founded in 1982 by the Dance Committee of The International Theatre Institute (ITI), the performing arts partner of Unesco. It falls each year on the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre, the founder of modern ballet who died in 1810. The aim of the day is to promote dance as an art form – and to act as a ‘wake-up-call for governments, politicians and institutions which have not yet recognised its value to the people and to the individual [or] realised its potential for economic growth’. The day also acts as a call for participation in dance across different cultures and countries and can be used to promote understanding of differences and promote equality and respect.

People reflect each other constantly, but when they dance, perhaps what they reflect most is that moment of honesty.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, dancer and choreographer, message author for International Dance Day 2012

Dance provides us with the opportunity, perhaps more than ever, to release energy, look after our physical and mental health while letting loose to our favourite tunes. It has been a way of telling stories and celebrating and can bring people together across generations and countries.

For International Dance Day this year we have put together a free Samba lesson for schools to use either on the day or during the summer term. The lesson is based on a samba dance, as well as printable teaching notes there are also a series of short videos that you can to demonstrate to the children, a brief history of samba is included alongside a playlist of music.


As well as learning samba steps there are also other activities that you could use to celebrate International Dance Day. Children could use 2Create a Story to combine words, pictures, sounds and animations to create their own dance routine for others to learn. Using 2Animate they could create a short animation to show a range of different movements and use 2Sequence or Busy Beats to create their own music to dance to.

If you don’t want to dance around the house/class why not have a go at making the dancers dance in our 2Code game.

Dance has evolved over the years, children could take the opportunity to talk to family members about what dance was like when they were younger, asking them about a dance card or to teach you a move. You could use this template to write up about what you have learnt.

Across the world there are many different forms of dance from Bollywood, to Samba, Flamenco to Dragon dancing, there are so many different routines and customs to explore. The Haka is the ancient war dance of the Maori people from New Zealand, the dance exists as a way for the Maori people to display their tribe’s ‘pride, strength and unity’. You can watch the video below, filmed at a LearnEd event earlier this year and practice and perform your own Haka dance, taken from our Striver PE scheme.

Whatever you do for International Dance Day, we would love you to share your work with us on either our Twitter or Facebook pages with the #InternationalDanceDay.