International Dance Day is a celebration of the performing arts that takes place each year on the birthday of the founder of modern ballet Jean-Georges Noverre.
In a time when festivals, parties, and even time in the studio are canceled or redirected, celebrating might seem impossible. Instead, dancers across the world have been given an opportunity to connect and show the power of dance as an art that connects people and to share their passion with people who might not consider themselves dancers.
Tap dancer and musical theatre performer Aaron Burr is one of many professional dancers bringing the studio and the stage to students through virtual dance classes on platforms like Zoom and Instagram Live.
These classes have attracted not only dancers that are separated from their studios due to social-distancing and quarantine practices but also everyday people searching for an outlet and new things to do while they spend more and more time at home. For International Dance Day, Aaron is preparing for one of these meaningful classes, a tap class hosted by the Joffrey Ballet School.
“I think that it’s very important to keep dancing!” Aaron said just before his virtual class. “Just like everyone, I’ve had some lows during this pandemic, but when I put my tap shoes on, it brings me so much joy, happiness, and a bit of normalcy!” As he pulls on his tap shoes to teach today, he has the future in mind. “I hope that these virtual classes can keep everyone inspired and dancing so that when we get back in the dance studio, we can continue progressing forward. I think times like this really expose just how powerful the arts are!”
Like any holiday, small celebrations are just as important for the dance community as events held by major companies like Joffrey Ballet. In her family’s studio in California, Showstopper Magazine Online writer and Royal Couture founder and designer Christy Lyn Huebner is preparing to add International Dance Day celebrations to her usual lineup of classes.
“International Dance Day is extra special this year because more than ever, we are reminded of the importance of this art form and keeping it alive,” Christy Lyn said, “so when quarantine is over, dancers will have an audience to come back to and a studio to return to!” In class today, Christy Lyn is going to have her students hold up signs to their screens that what dance means to them.
For dancers everywhere having the chance to dance, even if they have to push some furniture out of the way or grab a chair for barre exercises, is an opportunity to share in the joy of dance and stay optimistic about the future when they will be able to return to the stage. Virtual dance classes have also opened up doors for creators to bring interactive dance classes to people far beyond their home studios. This International Dance Day is about celebrating not only dance but those opportunities we have now for sharing it!