Message from Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the Occasion of International Dance Day
29 April 2020
While we are facing disease, confinement and isolation, many people have not stopped dancing. Enabling us to unwind, to bond, to explore the self, body and space, dance is a precious means of escape in this time of confinement, whether practiced alone in the secrecy of one’s own room or in a group at a virtual meeting online.
Today, more than ever, we need dance, and our Organization would like to express warm thanks to all the institutions, companies and individuals who are currently filling the digital platforms with dance, whether it be by sharing recordings of past performances or investing the time spent in lockdown practicing the art.
It must be said, however, that dance is an art of presence if ever there was one, and despite these initiatives, it is suffering from the current situation. On this International Dance Day, I wish to emphasize UNESCO’s full support to all dancers, contract workers in show business and artists who are going through difficult times, living in a state of uncertainty with regard to future employment and income, and who lack the space and means to maintain, create and share their art.
We must be particularly attentive to these difficulties and ensure that we preserve and support the art of dance and the wide variety of dance practices and traditions, because they represent a precious heritage and a life force for humanity.
Alicia Alonso, the great Cuban ballerina and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, who sadly passed away last December, said that dance is a dialogue that is rooted in the most beautiful and deepest part of humanity. Dance is a universal language that unites us, that expresses humanity’s inexhaustible capacity to imagine, dream and share – which we will need beyond this crisis in order to invent, together, the world of tomorrow.