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The Light Wings of Dance

By Margareta Sörenson

International Dance Day, celebrated April 29, 2022, is marked by wings suddenly given to Ukrainian dancers. When the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February, two large Ukrainian dance companies were on tour in France and unable to return home.

New tours were quickly arranged in France, Germany, Norway, and Sweden. Ballet schools across Europe have formed a network to receive young refugee dancers from Ukraine. For how long? When will peace be restored in their demolished home cities and villages?

The International Theatre Institute (ITI), home of many cultural associations such as the International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC), celebrates International Dance Day with a global message. Artistic director of the Korean National Ballet, Sue-jin Kang, this year writes, “As dancers, we believe that the flapping of our wings gives hope to the hearts of those who love the art of dance and gives them the courage to overcome this pandemic.”

The times we live in place heavy burdens on the shoulders of artists, and audiences still hesitate to come back to our theatres. The pandemic is not yet through with the world, and Europe is shaken by war. Post-Covid, thousands of dancers may not find their way back to dance, and there is an urgent need for renewal of institutions, schools, and venues.

We, the critics, love and support the performing arts through careful observation and analysis. We describe and our profession is to create a public discussion. We know, that despite the difficult times, dance lifts swiftly and travels with ease around the world.

Culture and the arts are much older than the borders and limits offered by today’s political geography. Fleeing dancers from one country can dance and be understood in another. International Dance Day means that this day, dance around the world shows its feet: folklore, traditional dance or contemporary, classical ballet, jazz dance, or street. The dance critics are there to watch and bear witness. 

We all long for a new normal, we all cherish, in the words of Kang, “memories of times when dance and dancers sparkled like jewels, conveying human anguish and anxiety, will and hope for life, and illuminated the world.”