Today April 29 is International Dance Day, a worldwide celebration of dance founded by the International Dance Council in 1982 which falls on the birthday of the French dancer and creator of modern ballet Jean-Georges Noverre. So whether you waltz, tango, tap dance or jive, if you cha-cha, mambo, samba or salsa, or if flamenco or hip hop is your thing, this is the day for you.
Dance can be beautiful, evocative, aggressive or a statement of cultural identify. Across the globe, people have begun to realise the power of dance as a healing form. In Dubai, kathak performer Vonita Singh uses dance to help patients with Parkinson’s Disease. A community centre in Canada is offering relief to patients with chronic pain via dance. Psychologist Dr Seema Hingorrany recommends dance to people suffering from depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorders. He says that through movement, a fluidity sets in which helps you orient back into awareness and stops you from seeping into negative, irrational thoughts.
Dance can help your cardio fitness too through fusion workouts with funky names. We all know about Zumba, a high-energy Latin dance workout said to burn more calories than aerobics or kickboxing. How about Bokwa a dance-inspired fitness craze comes from Bo (boxing) and Kwa ( the South African war dance, Kwaito) where participants draw letters and numbers with the feet while dancing? Or you could opt for tabata A high intensity interval training workout, Tabata is a dance routine with side lunges, kicks and squats.
Dance is competitive, Strictly Ballroom competitive through to Guinness Book of Records competitive. Led by choreographer Jitha Binoy, the successful attempt at the record for largest Kaikottikali dance, which formed part of the Thanima Arts Festival in Irinjalakuda (India) in January, saw 5,211 dancers set a new record. Check out the mesmerising footage from The Guiness Book of Records of the attempt below.