Sunday, April 29, 2018

Schools : International Dance Day : Time to dance !

International Dance Day
credits : ITI

"How to deliver this message directly to the community of humans without having a thought for all these migrant bodies, forced into exodus and exile around the world? As a choreographer and dancer, having travelled all continents to present my work and have enriching experiences in contact with others, can I look away from the chaos that shakes the world, and in particular, the migratory peril? No. I look at it and see its darkness, its brutality, but also its opportunities; the opportunities that contemporary dance has allowed me to discover in order to be part of an epoch." 

Salia Sanou, Burkina Faso, Dance, or sense of the future (message, excerpt)

Every April 29 International Dance Day, also known as World Dance Day, is celebrated every year through promotion by the International Dance Council (CID). 

Inlt Dance Day
credits : ITI

Since its creation in 1982, the International Dance Committee and the International Theatre Institute ITI select an outstanding dance personality to write a message for International Dance Day each year. 

This day is a celebration day for those who can see the value and importance of the art form dance, and acts as a wake-up-call for all the institutions which have not yet recognized its value to the people and to the individual and have not yet realized its potential for economic growth.

Jean-Georges Noverre
portrait by Jean-Baptiste Perronneau

The day was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Committee of the UNESCO International Theatre Institute

The date was chosen to commemorate the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre, who was born in 1727, a French dancer and ballet master and a great reformer of dance.

Lettres sur la Danse et sur les Ballets
Jean-Georges Noverre
 Lyon 1760

Noverre's treatise on dancing and theater expressed his aesthetic theories on the production of ballets and his method of teaching ballet. 

Noverre wrote this text in London in 1756 and published it in 1760 in Lyon, France.

Every year a message from a well known dance personality is circulated throughout the world. 

This year, the International Dance Day Celebration will happen at the Gran Teatro Alicia Alonso in Havana, Cuba, next Sunday, 29 April.

"The world seems to be in constant dissidence and troubles. We have witnessed, especially in recent years, incessant conflicts between countries, races and cultures. As a dance practitioner, I can’t help but wonder if art may somehow become an antidote to prevent or counteract some of the disorders that are threatening world peace and harmony."

Willy Tsao, China (message, excerpt)

5 Message Authors 
Salia Sanou/Georgette Gebara/Willy Tsao/Marianela Boan/Ohad Naharin

To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the International Theatre Institute and "to underline the cross-cultural and international aspect of this common language - Dance", the Executive Council and the International Dance Committee of ITI have selected five message authors to write a message – one from each of the five UNESCO Regions: Africa, the Americas, Arab Countries, Asia Pacific and Europe.

"Your body begins before you and is the place of all the rituals that belong to you. When you listen to your body through dance, you also hear the bodies and dances of seduction and celebration which belong to your ancestors and your species. In your body you carry the dances that will save you."

Marinela Boan, Cuba (message, excerpt)

The five message authors are leading lights within their respective regions, are sure to offer valuable insights to the state of global dance through their messages. 

They will all be present on stage to read their message on Sunday 29 April.

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker 
credits: Opéra de Paris

  • Goals:

The goals of International Dance Day are:

To promote dance in all its forms across the world.

To make people aware of the value of dance in all its forms.

To enable the dance community to promote their work on a broad scale, so that governments and opinion leaders are aware of the value and importance of dance in all its forms and support it.

To enjoy dance in all its forms for its own sake.

To share the joy of dance with others.


"Dancing is about being in the moment. It’s about listening to the scope of sensations and allowing that listening to become the fuel of all feelings, forms, and content. Yet, we should always remember where we came from."

Ohad Naharin, Israel, message (excerpt)

Beautiful message don't you think? So inspirational to students and teachers on this day! We all have students from different countries (immigrants kids)

Dance is a fun and fresh activity to include into School curriculum. School curricula without Arts (Music, Dance, Theater) will be unfinished and insufficient. Students will have an incomplete education.
I wrote so often on my blog the importance of Arts - dance, music, theatre, literature/poetry or painting in school education
Having a Master in Music and a Master in Literature I can't not forget the joy of understand the importance in my lilfe of the humanities & arts.
For too long, dance has been 'the Cinderella of the arts world' - never invested in to any great or consistent degree. No more! 

Diogo Oliveira, Portugal
créditos: Estela Silva /Lusa

We have awesome young dancers among this new generation. I'm feel very happy when I read about their success in their countries or in international contests.
Diogo Oliveira, Portuguese young dancer was invited to enter at the Ecole de Danse de l'Opéra de Paris after 5 Gold Medals at international contests and best dancer at Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP, 2015).
World Dance Day is a huge opportunity to raise the level of provision of dance in schools.  
"Indeed, whether we sit on the floor, hang on to a barre, fly in the air, stamp our boots on some mountain peak, whether we wave our hips lasciviously under a tent or in a nightclub, our language binds us together! For dance is not only an expression of feelings, a celebration, or just entertainment. DANCE IS A STATEMENT. A statement that says more eloquently than any spoken language, that we are ONE."

Georgette Gebara, Lebanon, message (excerpt)

Copyright © 2018G-Souto'sBlog,®
Creative Commons License
Schools : Intl Dance Day : Time to dance  ! by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Schools : Girls in Sport : Fanny Blankers-Koen !

Fanny Blankers-Koen
credits: Getty Images

Fanny Blankers-Koen the Dutch track star's achievements in the 1948 London Olympics destroyed stereotypes about female athletes. Why?

On a rainy summer day in 1948, onlookers at London’s Wembley track saw an unexpected athlete make history. 

Dutch runner and 30-year-old mother of two Fanny Blankers-Koen outstrided her opponents in the women’s 200m by 0.7 seconds - the highest margin in Olympics 200m history and a record that still stands today.

Google Doodle Fanny Blankers-Koen's 100th Birthday

  • Google Doodle:

Google Doodle honors her 100th anniversary today, April 26, which is almost 70 years after her achievements at the 1948 Olympics.

Google celebrates with a Doodle 'that imagines her racing down the track, smiling mid-stride'.

  • Some biographical notes:

Born near Baarn, the Netherlands, in 1918, in Lage Vuursche, a small village in the Netherlands, Francina Elsje Koen, later Fanny Blankers-Koen, Nicknamed the Flying Housewifehad set a national record for the women’s 800m by age 17. At 18, she competed in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, placing fifth in the 4x100m and sixth in high jump.

Blankers-Koen  in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin
credits: Times Newspaper LTD

Two years later Fanny she ran her first world record (11.0 seconds in the 100 yards) and picked up her first medals at the European Championships. 

The next Olympics were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II and in 1940, Fanny married her trainer Mr Blankers.

Dutch media automatically assumed Fanny’s career was over when she had her first child in 1941, but she resumed training just weeks after her son’s birth. She had a second child.

Blankers-Koen family
credits: Ben van Meerendonk / AHF, collectie IISG, Amsterdam

Blankers-Koen set six new world records competing in German-occupied Holland, between 1942 and 1944, in hurdles, high jump and long jump as well as tying in the 100m with a male athlete, which meant her achievement was never recognized. 

Despite the lack of available food due to the war, the mother kept forging ahead with her race times, though she had a slight setback in 1946 after having her second child.

In 1947 she won national titles in six women’s events, meaning she was assured of a place on the Dutch team for the first post-war Olympics, held in London, limiting herself this time to four events. 

Despite criticism from many people saying she should stay home instead of competing, Blankers-Koen decided to race in the 1948 London Games.

She came home from the 1948 Olympics with four gold medals, being the first woman to do so, and all in one year. They were for the 100m, the 200m, the 80m hurdles and the 4×100 m relay.

200m in London Olympics 1948 
credits: Bettmann/Getty Images

She was 30-years-old when her incredible feats on the running track led her to be labelled ‘the flying housewife’.

In 1947 she won national titles in six women’s events, meaning she was assured of a place on the Dutch team for the first post-war Olympics, held in London, limiting herself this time to four events. 

Blankers-Koen family

Back in her home country Fanny Blankers-Koen was greeted as a hero, made a knight of the Order of Orange Nassau, showered with gifts and driven through the streets by four white horses. 

Fanny competed in two more Olympic Games and her last ever winning event was the shot put in August 1955, her 58th Dutch title, before spending the rest of her life promoting women’s athletics.

She was also the team leader of the Dutch athletics team, from the 1958 European Championships to the 1968 Summer Olympics.

Fanny Blankers-Koen
European Champions

The athlete recalled in 1982: ‘I got very many bad letters, people writing that I must stay home with my children and that I should not be allowed to run on a track with… how do you say it? Short trousers.’

Blankers-Koen died in 2004 at the age of 85.

Her amazing life, and the victory’s changed so many perspectives on women’s abilities.

Though Blankers-Koen is one of the most decorated female athletes of the 20th century, she remains largely forgotten by history. 

Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images


Recent studies found that children spend less than four minutes a day in “unstructured outdoor play.” This secluded lifestyle is causing emotional, educational, and physical consequences, including obesity. 

Health organizations recommends school-age children do at least an hour of exercise each day. Schools offer quite a broad spectrum of activities. But lots of the girls are still turned off by it.
New research with 25,000 secondary students in England and Northern Ireland suggests that, at secondary level, only 8% of girls manage this.

Of the teenagers, surveyed by Youth Sport Trust and Women in Sport (UK) more than 80% understood the importance of being active but almost half of boys and nearly two-thirds of girls were less than keen on taking part themselves.

We all know that sports are necessary in education. And outdoor sports better. Girls don't like so much sports at school. But now, every day we read about young girls in competition: Olympics games and championships are good motivation.

Telma Monteiro, Judo, Portugal
12th World ranking/  12 medals
credits: Inácio Rosa/ LUSA

Remember  Chloe Kim/ Gold Medal (US) at the Winter Olympic Games 2018, last February or Telma Monteiro (Portugal) at the Olympic Games 2016 or Francesca Jones (GB) at Junior Wimbledon 2016 or Suzanne Lengler (France) among so many other young girls and women who brake down barriers through their passionate play, and fight for their dreams outs poking stance against the sport’s formalities!

I think Fanny Blankers-Koen changing many perspectives on women’s abilities is a perfect hero to motivate girls to a healthy outdoor life! And why not to be the next "flying girl"?

"All I've done is run fast," (...) "I don't see why people should make much fuss about that."

Fanny Blankers-Koen



Copyright © 2018G-Souto'sBlog,®

Creative Commons License
Schools : Girls in Sports : Fanny Blankers-Koen  ! by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License