Celebrate International Dance Day by Learning About These Styles of Dance from Around the World

Bharatanatyam dancer Sarika Bhattacharjee (photo by David Glasofer, courtesy Bhattacharjee)

Happy International Dance Day, everyone! Since 1982, this delightful holiday has been celebrated worldwide each April 29th. Why April 29th, you ask? It's the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727–1810), who's often credited as the creator of modern ballet.

This year, we thought we'd mark the occasion by rounding up some of our favorite stories about world dance. Because we can think of no better occasion to learn more about the beautiful, rich traditions of styles like nihon buyo and bharatanatyam.

(By the way—don't confuse International Dance Day with National Dance Day, which is coming up on September 19th. More days to celebrate dance, hooray!)


Folklórico (Mexico)

David Martinez, courtesy Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia Ballet Folklórico

A dance style with as much complexity, variety, and history as the country of Mexico itself.

Nihon Buyo (Japan)

Courtesy Yamato Mai

From its origins in traditional forms of theater to modern-day performances, nihon buyo has always been about communicating a clear narrative through an intricate physical language.

Bharatanatyam (India)

David Glasofer, courtesy Sarika Bhattacharjee

Bollywood spectaculars have their origins in classical Indian dance—particularly bharatanatyam, perhaps the most influential of the seven classical forms.

Irish Step Dance

Jack Hartin, courtesy Riverdance

This style's signature fast-flying feet and ramrod-straight posture were made famous by Riverdance, and today you can find Irish step classes at studios across the country.

Flamenco (Spain)

Javier Fergo, courtesy Jerez Festival

The fiery art of flamenco features an extremely complex rhythmic structure that's in constant dialogue with the music.

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