There are a number of reasons that make April 29th a very special day, bringing both joy and sadness.

Let's start with what is likely to be the most widely celebrated. For those who don't know, April 29th is International Dance Day, a day to 'let your hair down' and enjoy yourself. Country dances around the world are celebrated with both the old and the young having an enjoyable time.

In 1982 the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute founded the International Dance Day (IDD) to be celebrated every year on the 29 April, the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), creator of modern ballet.

The intention of the IDD Message is to celebrate dance, revel in the universality of this art form, cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers, and bring people together with a common language - dance.

Every year a message from an outstanding choreographer or dancer is circulated throughout the world. The author of the message is selected by the International Dance Committee of ITI and the Executive Council of ITI. The message is translated into numerous languages and circulated globally. World Dance Alliance is a member of the ITI Dance Committee.

This year the Dance Committee of the ITI has selected Argentinian dancer Marianela NÚÑEZ to provide the 2024 Message (translated below from Spanish):

"A memory is not enough to make history. And the history of a theatre, like that of each person, is also the history of others, of how an art like dance migrated and grew in different latitudes.

The walls of the Royal Ballet treasure photographs that narrate the journey; history calls for its protagonists, and dance in Argentina shines with each of those names. Often, institutions submerge themselves in silent anonymity, without faces or surnames, avoiding facing the echo of the past.

The organisations promoted and supported by ITI-UNESCO, such as the Argentine Dance Council, frequently act as a wall that prevents forgetfulness.

I am with you all in the commitment to rescue and revitalise the history of masters, artists and choreographers who have enriched the world of dance, deserving of being heard by future generations.

Let us all know that we are not spectators, but inheritors of a tradition forged with art, dignity and sacrifice, nourishing our path with vocation and love for beauty.

Although the future and the present capture our attention, without the solid foundation of the past, without the fertility of our land, the dance tree cannot flourish. The roots are tradition and at the same time... nutrients."

A disaster for the ages

In Bangladesh, we remember the devastating cyclone of April 29, 1991, Cyclone 2B, which devastated the coastline and off-shore islands of Chittagong, Chakoria, and Cox's Bazar. Although the official death toll was 138,000, it is estimated that very many more perished on that fateful night. It took several weeks to recover the bodies of the victims. As many as 10 million people, by some accounts, were left homeless by Cyclone 2B. Additionally, a million head of cattle were lost. Because of this, and the heavy loss of crops, shortage of food supplies posed a critical danger to the survivors.

Since 1991, however, disaster preparedness has improved remarkably and with the use of mobile phones and, in general, with greater awareness, hundreds of thousands of people can be moved to safety before the onset of any cyclone.

No Golf Day!

April 29 is also observed as 'World No-Golf Day' because on this day in 1993, the Global Anti-Golf Movement (GAGM) was launched at a meeting in Penang, Malaysia by some Asian environmental organisations. At that time, the cost of playing golf in places like Japan had sky-rocketed and golf tourism started, whereby Japanese businessmen would travel to countries like Thailand and Indonesia where new golf courses were being built.

Small farmers were being pushed off their agricultural land which was gradually transformed. Exotic soil and grass, chemical fertilizers, fungicides, and weedicides, as well as machinery were all imported to substitute for natural ecosystems. The environmental impacts included water depletion and toxic contamination of the soil, underground water, surface water, and the air. This in turn led to health problems for local communities, populations downstream, and even golfers, caddies, and chemical sprayers in golf courses.

Death of Evil, birth of Good?

April 29, 1945, was the day on which Adolf Hitler realized that he would soon be killed by the approaching Soviet Army. He had learnt that day how the Italian wartime leader Mussolini had been brutally killed and his dead body put on public display, hanging from a lamppost. Hitler was determined to avoid that sort of end. He and his longtime companion, Eva Braun, married that night and a few hours later took their own lives.

Author Julian Francis, awarded the Friend of Bangladesh Liberation War honour in 2012, was born on April 29, 1945, and believes that Hitler's suicide was in fact occasioned by news of his birth!

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