Since 1982, UNESCO has designated today, April 29, as International Dance Day (World Dance Day). This day was created to increase awareness of the importance of dance among the general public, as well as to persuade governments all over the world to provide a proper place for dance in all systems of education. Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO declares that “Dance, being a central part of every culture, constitutes the ideal means for bringing together people from different countries….For vividly illustrating cultural diversity, for embodying rapprochement, there is no better means than dance”. I cannot agree with her more.
Dance has the power to bring people from different cultures and backgrounds together. I see it every time I dance. My current Tango class, for example, has students from different countries and ages. Despite all of our apparent differences, we all have something in common: our love for dancing. To me, dancing is a way to express myself and to connect with others through music. It allows me to communicate beyond spoken languages. One word that describes the way I feel when I dance is JOY. I have also seen that joy in others, and many times I have felt compelled to learn from them. So, today, I would like to thank those who inspire me to keep dancing: Wendy Clinard , Edo Sie and Azucena Vega for Flamenco; Jenny Avellaneda, Pierr Padilla, Ruben Pachas, and Jessica Loyaga for Peruvian Folk Dance; Ariel Yanovsky, Shafqat Manzur, and Maria ArTango for Tango, and all the other impromptu teachers that I have encountered throughout my life. I also want to acknowledge my dear friend and fellow dancer Hector Bustamante for sharing his love and commitment to dancing with me and for encouraging me to keep improving my dance skills.
Tonight, I am planning on spending the night away dancing some Bhangra. I hope you can also feel the beauty and joy of dancing tonight. And remember: