Contemporary and classical Indian dance mix at this year's free performances celebrating International Dance Day in Vancouver.
Contemporary and classical Indian dance mix at this year's free performances celebrating International Dance Day in Vancouver.

Celebrated on April 29, International Dance Day was created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to commemorate the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre, who is regarded as the founder of modern ballet.

Each year the International Theatre Institute, a partner of UNESCO, selects a dance personality to write a message for International Dance Day each year. This year’s message comes from Egyptian dancer, choreographer, and educator Karima Mansour.

Closer to home, The Dance Centre celebrates the art of dance with a series of free International Dance Day events around the city. Here are five we think you should check it out:

1. The Nelken Line

Kinesis Dance somatheatro presents a special BC edition of Pina Bausch’s processional dance work The Nelken Line. Featuring company dancers, community participants, and the Vancouver Carnival Band the piece will be performed on Granville Island (Apr 28 @ Noon) and at Burnaby’s Shadbolt Centre (Apr 29 @ Noon).

2. ÉCOUTE POUR VOIR (Listen To See)

From Montreal-based dance artist Emmanuel Jouthe comes a series of short solos in which dancers share their choreography and music with a spectator through headphones, creating an intimate experience of movement in a shared world of sound. Performances take place at the Vancouver Public Library Main Concourse (Apr 28 @ 4pm) and the Scotiabank Dance Centre (Apr 29 @ 4pm).

3. Dust

This contemporary dance solo is inspired by the poetry of Anne Carson. Using movement, text and visual effects, it investigate themes of volatility, change, decay, and the unbound. The performance takes place at the Scotiabank Dance Centre (Apr 28 & 29 @ 6pm).

4. Dance Double

Isabelle Kirouac combines comedy, contemporary dance, and circus in Habitats, a duet evoking the spirits of Fellini and Lewis Carroll. While Bharatanatyam artist Sujit Vaidya performs a solo highlighting the rhythms, technical rigour and beauty of classical Indian dance. One performance only at  Vancouver Public Library Main Concourse (Apr 29 @ Noon).

5. Youth Dance Blast

Students from Vancouver’s Windermere Secondary School hit the street for a dynamic dance routine at Vancouver Art Gallery South Plaza (Apr 29 @ 1pm).

The Dance Centre celebrates International Dance Day April 28 & 29. Visit thedancecentre.ca for more information.