World Dance Day: Guild Of Nigerian Dance Practitioners Set For Celebration

The Guild of Nigerian Dance Practitioners, Lagos State Chapter is set to take Lagos State and the entire nation by storm on the 29th of April 2024, which date marks the celebration of the annual World Dance Day.

World Dance Day also referred to as International Dance Day was created in 1982 by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), UNESCO’s main partner for performing arts, to commemorate the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), a French dancer and ballet master, known as the father of modern ballet.

For the Lagos Chapter Dance Guild, the annual celebration of Dance and the practitioners of dance all over the world, leaves no doubt in it’s mind that dance is wholly recognised as a profession that has come to stay and to reckon with in the world of entertainment, culture, education, health, social engagements, economics etc. This celebration clearly undermines the triviality many once and some, sometimes still attribute to dance, because by itself, it has broken through restrictions of practice in several climes, and become widely accepted, practiced and celebrated unabashedly.
While the world awaits the World Dance Day 2024 theme, the Guild of Nigerian Dance Practitioners, Lagos State Chapter has decided to take some steps by first looking inwards to assess it’s self and the relationship that is meant to exist between it and the professional dance practitioners in Lagos State. Through this assessment, it has come to the realisation that apart from our indigenous Nigerian traditional dances, Lagos State plays host to diverse genres of dances, which the Guild is meant to be custodian, keeper and protector of, without bias or sentimental tilts in favour of any particular style, but rather to ensure that all styles are given equal recognition and level playing field to be seen, appreciated and to flourish in Lagos State.

With this in mind, the Guild is celebrating this year’s edition with the theme “Dance…connecting the world, one dance at a time”, and using this as a clarion call to all dancers, irrespective of the genre that they practice, years of practice, age, status etc, to come out in those capacities, so that they too can be seen, recognised and celebrated as contributors to the socio-cultural and economic growth and sustenance of the society. This clarion call is urgent and stems from years of negative beliefs and narratives that the Dance Guild had been established only to cater for dancers who perform “Nigerian traditional Dances”, rather than for all dancers and dance styles in Nigeria.

In order to debunk these false beliefs, the Guild will be celebrating this year’s edition with an exhibition of a potpourri of dance styles in several communities across Lagos, with a view to showcasing the unity that exists in the divers dance styles, the beauty and elegance of each style and the unity of purpose in their delivery, especially when all these dance styles are performed to the same music.

Yes, you heard right, “the same music”. Each dance style, ranging from our unique Nigerian traditional dances to Western, Latin, Contemporary, Afro, Naija Urban etc, will all be performed, using the same music created by DJ Mark “Markiss” Oise, specifically for the purpose of bringing all dance styles together and to be celebrated by the Guild. With this singular act, the Guild clearly wishes to establish its commitment to dance as a professional practice, and to perform it’s innate duty, which requires it to give due recognition, respect and protection to all dance practitioners and by extension, the styles they practice.

In the next couple of days leading to the celebration of World Dance Day on the 29th of April, several dance activities have been scheduled to take place within Lagos; first, a videography team made up of Babs “Scoobie” Ademoye and Faith “Phaith OT” Okoh, will be shooting the diverse dance styles of different dance groups representing their communities of Ikorodu, Gbagada, Oworonshoki, Ketu, Bariga, Surulere, Amuwo-Odofin, Ajegunle, Badagry, Lagos Island and Lekki  communities, then a team of choreographers, made up of acclaimed dance sensation and winner of Maltina Dance All Family competition, Season 2, Ukalina “@chakrapink” Opuwari, along with Timothy “Surpyking” Jakande and Onome “@Realisokoboy” Riches will be holding pocket dance choreography creations around Lagos, as a build up to the final exhibition on World Dance Day.

The Chairman of the Guild, Ugonwa D. Obiayo, Esq added that come 29th April 2024, all roads will lead to the Creative Arts Department of University of Lagos, for dancers in Lagos State to come together for a dance celebration like never before, solely to mark the beginning of a better, stronger and more inclusive Guild that is ready to take all dance styles in Lagos State to the next level of creative greatness.

Happy World Dance Day to you all.

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