International Dance Day 2023 in Wolverhampton

The Poet in Residence of WCR FM – Wolverhampton`s radio station – is urging everyone to celebrate International Dance Day 2023 on 29th April.


“We are social creatures” explained Poet in Residence Ian Henery “and we reflect each other constantly with the things we do and say but when we dance that communication is more honest.  Dance is a reflection of who we are as spiritual beings and a way to communicate with the world.”


International Dance Day was created by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute, the main partner for the performing art6s of UNESCO – the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation – which is a specialised agency of the United Nations aimed at promoting world peace through international education co-operation in arts, education, science and culture.


Since its creation in 1982 the International dance Committee and the International Theatre Institute select an outstanding dance personality to write a message for International dance Day each year.  This year it`s Yang Liping (pictured)  from Yunnan in China who draws inspiration from nature in her hometown, her personal life experiences and the profound civilisation of the East, which is an integral part of world civilisation, as it provides diversity, richness and inspiration.  She is perhaps best known for her choreography on “The Soul of a Peacock” which symbolises beauty in the Eastern world because its appearance resembles that of the phoenix with a reified posture comparable to a dragon.


“When there is a good harvest we would dance in the fields with joyous hearts  to express our gratitude  to the earth” she said.  “When we meet someone we love we may dance  like a peacock  spreading its tail  feathers to win their affection.”


Yang Ling believes that body language is humanity`s  most instinctive form of communication.  As new born babies  we can use our hands and feet to make dancing-like gestures even before we have learned to utter a word.  She is a household name in China and vice chair of China Dancers Association.


“In my world dance has been intricately interwoven in to our lives and existence since  earliest childhood.  It has always been the key that unlocks human being`s communication with nature and all living beings.  In my hometown there is a saying: “If you have legs but cannot dance you have wasted your life in vain”.


Dance is closely connected to nature and life.  As far as I`m concerned, dance is one and the same with nature and life – that is the true essence of dance.   Some people come to this world to carry on their lineage, some come to enjoy life, some come to seek experiences.  For me, I am an observer of life.  I come to see how a flower blooms and withers, how clouds float and how dew condenses.


Therefore all my creative inspiration comes from nature and life: the brightness of moonlight, the display of peacock`s plumage, the transformation of a butterfly from a cocoon, the way a dragonfly skims the water`s surface, the way a caterpillar wiggles, the way ants form a queue.”


International Dance Day is a celebration for those who can see the value and importance of the art form dance and acts as a wake-up call for governments, politicians and institutions who have not yet recognised its value to people, individuals and potential for economic growth.   The philosophy of Yang Liping is to learn from nature and the unity of humans with the universe.


“These doctrines are the spiritual core of my art” she said.  “As human beings we should respect nature, learn from nature and harmonise with nature, just like the earth, the mountains and the sky.  Dancers and choreographers need to listen more attentively to the joys and sorrows of the world using dance to complete the dialogue we have had with nature and life which has lasted for thousands of years.


Today I will not only continue to share our dance culture with the world but I also hope to invite all the dancers in the world who love dance and who would like to express their emotions  through dance to jointly dance for conveying our love and praise to heaven and earth.   Life never ends and dance never stops”.


Diverse Dancers (Who Sway Before Our Eyes)  


 A universal rhythm under stars,

Prima donna ballet, rock air guitars;

Punk pogo or nutty boys doing ska,

Diverse dancers who sway before our eyes.

Sung by many tongues, danced by many feet,

The world moves to the universal beat;

Cultures merged, humanity is complete,

Happy voices raised to the distant skies.


Musical patterns deep within our blood,

Crossing borders, its language understood

On world stage and in speakers under hoods,

Diverse dancers who sway before our eyes.

Bathed in music without any regret,

Ancestral melodies none can forget;

Free-form dance or classical pirouette,

Happy voices raised to the distant skies.


Across global time zones, both day and night,

Human emotions expressed, pure delight,

Like  Bollywood`s sitars with saris bright,

Diverse dancers who sway before our eyes.

We need these dancers, they banish the grey,

In their presence despair is blown away;

An invitation for the world to play,

Happy voices raised to the distant skies.


Let dance cover us like a waterfall,

Let people be united, one and all,

A world in dance, answering music`s call,

Diverse dancers who sway before our eyes.

Politicians have made lots of mistakes,

Let the planet dance – Bhangra or Swan Lake,

Come out of hibernation and awake!

Happy voices raised to the distant skies.


Ian Henery