29 Apr. '19
International Dance Day 2019: Message by Karima Mansour
Karima Mansour. Photo: Hamdy Reda
Every year on 29 April we celebrate International Dance Day. This worldwide celebration of dance is an initiative of the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI).
International Dance Day invites culture lovers, governments, politicians and institutions to revel in the universality of this art form, and its ability to cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers and to bring people together with a common language – dance. Every year a message from an outstanding choreographer or dancer is circulated throughout the world.
For International Dance Day 2019 dancer, choreographer and educator Karima Mansour from Egypt shares her message.
"At the beginning there was movement… and since the dawn of time, dance has been a strong means of expression and celebration. Found on the murals of Egyptian pharaohs and inspiring dance makers to date. Dance was used to evoke the many gods and goddesses of dance with all what they represent in meaning and concepts like balance from which justice is connected, musicality, tone, individual and cosmic consciousness and more.
I read once that: 'Dance in the times of the pharaohs was thought to elevate the spirit of the dancer and of the audience of spectators or participants. Music and dance called upon the highest impulses of the human condition while also consoling people on the disappointments and losses in life.'
Movement is a language spoken by us all. Movement is a universal language that belongs to everybody, if only we open our senses and listen. Listening is what is required, listening without interference, listening without judgment, listening in silence and allowing the movement to pass through the body in the moment, because everything inside us and around us is in motion, constant motion. This is when the body doesn't lie because it is listening to its truth and manifesting it.
By listening to our heartbeat, we can then dance the dance of life, which requires movement, agility and adaptability, a constant shifting choreography.
In this day and age where connection & connectivity have taken on new meanings and where we are at our lowest point in our ability to connect… Dance remains to be the most sought-after action to help us re-establish that lost connection. Dance brings us back to our roots, in the cultural sense but also in the most immediate sensory, personal, individual, down-to-the-core-and-heart way, whilst still enabling us to be social animals. For it is when we connect with ourselves when we listen to our inner rhythm, that we are really able to establish a connection with others and communicate.
Dance is where culture is shared and borders fall into the space of inclusion and unity, through the unspoken language of universality.
The body is an instrument of expression, a vessel for our voice, our thoughts, our feelings, our history, our being and existence, our yearning to express and connect that manifests through movement.
Dance is a space that allows oneself to connect with their truth, for that, a quiet space is required. Dance allows us to connect and feel whole and it is only in that feeling that we find peace and with peace comes silence and it is through silence that we can hear, listen, speak and through stillness that we learn to dance our truths and this is when dance becomes pertinent.
Movement and dance is where we can move from the vertical to the horizontal, from up to down and vice versa. Movement and dance is where chaos can be created and re-organized, or not. Where we are able to create our own realities and fleeting, ephemeral moments one after the other. Moments that can touch us and remain in our memories, to inspire and change us and others for life. That is the power of true expression and thus the power of dance.
Dance is a healer. Dance is where humanity can meet.
I invite people to go beyond borders, beyond identity crisis, beyond nationalism and beyond frames. May we free ourselves of those limitations and find the movement and momentum in that universal language. I invite everybody to dance to their heartbeat, to their inner truth because it is from these internal movements, that lead to internal revolutions, where real change happens."