International Dance Day 2020



International Dance Day is celebrated on 29 April every year, and commemorates the birthday of French dancer, ballet master and reformer Jean-Georges Noverre. This year’s IDD message is by South African dance activist Gregory Maqoma.

“We are living through unimaginable tragedies, in a time that I could best describe as the posthuman era. More than ever, we need to dance with purpose, to remind the world that humanity still exists.”

Go to the official page of International Dance Day, hosted by the International Theatre Institute (ITI), to read the full message, or find out more about Gregory Maqoma.

World Dance Alliance is a member of the International Dance Committee of International Theater Institute (ITI).

Dec 2019 Edition of Channels

In this edition:

  • Reports on the Ocean Dance Festival in Bangladesh, including a special report on the Choreolab.
  • Photos and participant reports from the International Young Choreographers’ Project for 2019.
  • Announcements of upcoming events, including the August 2020 AGM event in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

…as well as our usual executive reports, network reports, and country chapter reports.


Download Dec 2019 Asia-Pacific Channels
[pdf-iconPDF 4.6MB]

Asia–Pacific Channels is the bi-annual magazine of the World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific (WDAAP), published by Ausdance National in collaboration with MyDance Alliance in Malaysia. It profiles dance events and activities from WDA members throughout the Asia–Pacific region.

Back issues of Channels can be downloaded from here. The archive of Channels dating back to 1996 is available from the Ausdance website.

Choreolab by Sashar Zarif


An exciting component of the upcoming Ocean Dance Festival is a 15-day Choreolab by Canadian Irani dancer Sashar Zarif ending with a Gala Presentation on the Opening Night of the Ocean Dance Festival. Check out Sashar’s website at

7-21 November
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

For updates, see the Facebook event:


Sashar Zarif Dance Theatre (SZDT) is an internationally renowned Toronto- based dance theatre organization founded in 1994 by award winning multi- disciplinary performing artist, educator and researcher, Sashar Zarif. Through extensive touring across 37 countries including Americas, Europe, North Africa, Central and Western Asia, and the Middle East, Zarif has spent his professional life promoting cultural dialogue through intensive fieldworks, residencies, performances, and creative collaborations. His research interests are identity, memory, globalization, and cross- cultural collaborations. His artistic practice invites a convergence of creative and cultural perspectives. His teaching practice is steeped in the artistry and history of traditional, ritualistic, and contemporary dance and music of the Near Eastern and Central Asian regions and Islamic communities. For over twenty years Zarif has worked tirelessly to maintain the integrity of these fine arts by operating within three interdependent faculties of research, creation and education.

“My practice is a budding tree, established in the earth while rejuvenating in the air. Researching the roots, educating the body, and creating the fruit of this tree, are the mandate of my practice.”—Sashar Zarif

Artist Profile

OVERVIEW: I am a multi-disciplinary dance artist striving to contribute to socio- cultural animation. I am committed to maintaining the integrity of performing and expressive arts to facilitate a journey of self- discovery as a way of understanding one’s perception of reality. In fulfilling this objective, I aim to infuse dance with other essential pillars of art including music, poetry, calligraphy, storytelling, and rituals; thereby acquiring a genuine understanding of the human nature I seek to explore and understand.

PERSONAL & ARTISTIC BACKGROUND: My identity is not a product but it is the process of a ongoing constructive negotiation of my relationship between the cultures, languages, and experiences I carry with me. I come from a history of inherited migration through my grandparents and my own personal experiences with revolution, war, imprisonment, torture, fleeing, refugee camps, and migration. I am a new Canadian, born into an immigrant Azerbaijani family in Iran with strong Central Asian roots.

As an artist from the East living in the West, and after a number of years establishing my Azerbaijani/Iranian Canadian dance practice in Toronto, I found it necessary to examine my identity through a Western lens. Being introduced by my host society as “Middle Eastern”, “Muslim”, “Refugee”, or “Immigrant”, I often found myself confused. I struggled with the confrontation between the new culture and my own history. How could I negotiate the apparent contradictory appearance of who I was in the eyes of others and the reality of what I felt in my artistic practice? I came to the conceptual juncture of assimilation, integration, and acculturation on one hand, and preservation on the other.

I faced a decision to fully assimilate into Canadian culture, retain and maintain my own culture, somehow blend the two, or search for another possibility to help negotiate my identity. I wondered if there was a way I could make peace with it all — a way that was not yet clear to me, a way that would make sense, a way that would be true to the duality of my past and present experiences while allowing me to be happy, satisfied and to excel in my life and art. It has been an eternal search and I have come to the conclusion that life is a process-orientated inquiry. Rather than me longing to arrive at a destination, it is a continuous journey that has been informing my practice and has supported my goal of making a positive contribution to the world I live in.

MY PRACTICE: My professional practice is the process of transforming my personal journey in life to my professional journey in the world. A transformation that works towards an ongoing inquiry into my personal and social-cultural reality. This practice aims to provide stimulus to my own individual mental, physical, and emotional life in order to inspire or facilitate myself to undertake a wider range of experiences that can foster a higher degree of self-realization, self expression, and awareness of belonging to the self, to a community, and to the world at large concurrently.

ARTISTIC INTERESTS/OBJECTIVES: To date, my artistic practice has been accomplished by extensive ethnographic research into the artistic practices of the deeply culturally and historically inter-related Central and Western Asian cultures as well as the cultures of the Islamic societies at large. Also I have participated in a series of cross- disciplinary, culturally creative and educationally collaborative projects both in Canada and across the globe. Thus, My artistic activities are comprised of three inter-related sections/practices: research, teaching, and creation/performance/production — all three operating simultaneously to support one another.

CREATIVE APPROACHES: Since 1994, I have provided artistic activities to dance artists and students in both rural and urban communities across 29 countries. Today, I continue to build on:

• Research (archive: audio/visual/text material, practical knowledge/information, and method of inquiry)

I inquire into the past to connect with the present and contribute to the future. It supports my mission by bringing awareness to the creative exploration of identity, globalization and cross-cultural explorations as well as the basis for my evolving dance pedagogy. I have conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork across Central and Western Asian, the Middle East, and North Africa focusing on inter- related Sufi, Shamanic, and traditional dance rituals across Islamic societies.

•Creation – Dance form
Dance of Mugham (a constructed dance form providing me with a effective tools to work with) Dance of Mugham is a dance form that was reconstructed and reimagined through the study of its once integrated partners: mystical poetry, classical music, classical calligraphy, and rituals of Sufi and Shamanic traditions across the Islamic societies. This form was created in order to enable me to work with the wealth of wisdom, knowledge and integrity embedded in these mystical practices that have been promoting inquiry into the reality of self, compassion, harmony, and tolerance. The Project was realized over eight years through focused and intensive field world, study and consultation with some of the prominent masters of music, poetry, calligraphy and sufi rituals.

• Creation – Creative approach
Moving Memories (A creative process for dance- making/choreography)

For me, creation is about transformation of artistic experiences. Through articulation and refinement, this creative process provides reality to my artistic creations, resulting in my choreographic works.

• Pedagogy – SZDT’s Itinerant Dance Academy (IDA)
(the means by which I share and communicate the aforementioned artistic activities)

Educational outreach is an integral component of SZDT’s mission and vision. Formerly known as the Joshgoon Dance Academy which was established in 1994 by Sashar Zarif after his graduation and performance experience in National and Classical Dances of Azerbaijan and Central Asia in Baku, Azerbaijan. The new Itinerant Dance Academy offers residencies, lecture- demonstrations, and classes in Near Eastern and Central Western and Central Asian dance, character, technique and choreography, including dances from Azerbaijan, Dagestan, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan Kazakhstan and Western Mongolia. Of special note is the “Dance of Mugham” which is the product of over twelve years of research and reconstruction completed by Artistic Director Sashar Zarif. The goal of Sashar Zarif’s of IDA is to reinstate the nearly lost element of dance back into the ancient form of Mugham.

The Itinerant Dance Academy has been appropriately named “Itinerant” since Zarif’s teaching and curriculum has, and continues to be experienced by students and artists of all ages across the globe. After years of honing his teaching practice, Zarif’s students have benefited from the profound opportunity to explore their past memories through integrated dance practices that involve music, poetry, calligraphy, ritual, storytelling and oral journaling. Zarif’s unique dance pedagogy, curricular content and course offerings offer an educational platform for his students to nurture the theatre’s core values: inquiry, sharing, diversity, individualtiy, tolerance, compassion, harmony, responsibility, awareness, and motivation.

As such, the Itinerate Dance Academy facilitates moving beyond a fixed understanding of culture to a universal way that humans relate to the world around them. SZDT Itinerate dance academy was conceived to facilitate genuine communication and awareness between people across the globe.

June 2019 Edition of Asia-Pacific Channels

Hot on the heels of the last edition, World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific is delighted to present the June 2019 edition of Asia-Pacific Channels, the biannual magazine of World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific.

Some highlights of the edition include:

  • Considerations of the future of the WDAAP Education & Training Network, amid larger discussions of the role of WDA.
  • A report from India with lovely views of the upcoming Ocean Dance Festival venue for the WDAAP AGM in Bangladesh.
  • Special announcements of the World Dance Alliance Global Summit 2020 in Hong Kong.

…as well as our usual executive reports, network reports, and country chapter reports.

Channels_june2019_coverDownload June 2019 Asia Pacific Channels [pdf-icon PDF 3.8MB]

Asia–Pacific Channels is the bi-annual digital magazine of the World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific (WDAAP). It profiles dance events and activities from WDA members throughout the Asia–Pacific region.

Back issues of Channels can be downloaded from here. The archive of Channels dating back to 1996 is available from the Ausdance website.

Dec 2018 Edition of Asia-Pacific Channels

In this edition:

  • An overview of Panpapanpalya 2018 2nd Joint Dance Congress in Adelaide last year.
  • An obituary for Tom Brown, 1948 – 2018.
  • A special announcement of the upcoming Ocean Dance Festival in Bangladesh.

…as well as our usual executive reports, network reports, and country chapter reports.

Thanks to Arthy Ahmed from Bangladesh, who generously assisted with the layout and design of this edition.

Asia–Pacific Channels is the bi-annual magazine of the World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific (WDAAP), published by Ausdance National in collaboration with MyDance Alliance in Malaysia. It profiles dance events and activities from WDA members throughout the Asia–Pacific region.

Back issues of Channels can be downloaded from here. The archive of Channels dating back to 1996 is available from the Ausdance website.

Call for Paper Submissions: 2019 Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship


An International Journal of World Dance Alliance


SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Deadline extended: 31 March

PUBLICATION DATE: October 15, 2019

The World Dance Alliance (WDA) announces a call for original scholarly articles and performance reviews for Volume 7 of the Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship (JEDS), from emerging scholars, in the discipline of dance. Authors must be currently pursuing a graduate degree (M.A., M.F.A., Ph.D., or equivalent) or be within five years of having graduated (the degree does not need to be in dance, but the article must be focused on dance as an evolving discipline).

Manuscripts should contribute innovative scholarship into contemporary or historical dance, research methodologies, critical choreographic analysis, ethnographic studies, pedagogical practices, or other topics opening insights into the field of dance studies.

Articles and performance reviews are submitted to a double blind peer review.

JEDS is published online ( ) as an open access resource and linked through the World Dance Alliance Websites ( , and ). Articles and performance reviews are selected to ensure a diverse representation of global dance scholarship is included in each publication.

If you have questions, or would like to make a submission please email the guest editors:

Anja Ali-Haapala (Co-Chair: Early Career Researchers’ Community, Independent Researcher, Australia) and Sarah Knox (Co-Chair: Early Career Researchers’ Community, Lecturer in Dance Studies, University of Auckland, New Zealand):


2019 JEDS Guide for Contributors [PDF 77KB]
Affirmation-Page [DOC 17KB]

Arts Education for Everybody? Every Student? Everywhere?

The World Alliance for Arts Education International Conference is happening in Frankfurt, Germany, 28 Oct to 1 Nov 2019.

Early bird registrations close on 15 March.

At this conference, WAAE will review UNESCO Arts education policies and chart a plan for the next 5 years of action. The conference will focus on evaluating the situation of Arts Education in formal education (Schools) – quantity, quality, accessibility, models for arts cooperation etc. We invite researchers and experts from national arts education associations to contribute to the evaluation of diverse ‘real situations’, judge them and discuss strategic planning with UNESCO experts about next steps and aims for the next decade of arts education policy.

WAAE is a key partner of World Dance Alliance.

Next WDAAP Annual General Meeting in Bangladesh, Nov 2019


The next Annual General Meeting of World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific will be held in the beautiful seaside town of Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh, from 22-25 November 2019. The event will take place in conjunction with the Ocean Dance Festival, organized by Nrityajog (WDA-Bangladesh).

The event will include twinning projects, choreolabs, seminars, workshops and performances.

Currently, the event invites proposals for scholarly gatherings of papers, panel discussions, dance research workshops, lecture demonstrations, workshops, posters/installations and Pecha Kucha that address the WDA-AP AGM core theme of ‘Bridging the Gap’ through dance.

Here are the key dates:

  • 25 February 2019: Submissions close
  • 25 April 2019: Notification of acceptance
  • 25 May 2019: Deadline for submission of revised proposals
  • 25 June 2019: Final notification of acceptance by email

Registration has not been activated as yet, but the dates to remember are as follows:

  • Early bird registration up to 01 May 2019
  • Full registration from 02 May 2019

For more information, check out the event website:

Southeast Asian Choreolab 2019

SEA Choreolab 2019 Images1

Call for Applications

Please note: the dates for the SEA Choreolab 2019 have been changed to 6 to 14 July 2019.

We invite emerging contemporary dance choreographers (or performance artists or physical theatre creators) from Southeast Asia to apply for the Southeast Asian Choreolab 2019.

This international choreographic laboratory will take place at Rimbun Dahan, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 6 to 14 July 2019, facilitated by Australian choreographer Liesel Zink.

Due date for applications: 30 November 2018.

More info:

This is a joint project of Rimbun Dahan, MyDance Alliance, and World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific.

Applicants to this project should be citizen of and resident in an ASEAN country (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam) or Papua New Guinea or East Timor.

June 2018 Edition of Asia-Pacific Channels

JDK Crew from Aotearoa/New Zealand, during celebrations for International Dance Day 2018. Photo: Sean Aickin.
JDK Crew from Aotearoa/New Zealand, during celebrations for International Dance Day 2018. Photo: Sean Aickin.

A new edition of Channels is available to download!

Asia–Pacific Channels is the bi-annual magazine of the World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific (WDAAP), published by Ausdance National in collaboration with MyDance Alliance in Malaysia. It profiles dance events and activities from WDA members throughout the Asia–Pacific region.

June 2018 Edition

In addition to the usual reports from our executive committee, network heads and chapter reports, here are some highlights from this edition:

  • Channels_June2018_coverpageA special tribute to Professor Linda Caldwell, whose energy and generosity united World Dance Alliance Americas and beyond.
  • Our cover image is from the Hong Kong Dance Awards, established by Hong Kong Dance Alliance. Congratulations to long-time WDAAP member Anna Chan who won this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award.
  • Much anticipation in this issue of the Panpapanpalya 2018 Joint Dance Congress with daCi which has just successfully concluded in Adelaide, Australia. We look forward to more reports on this event in the next issue.

Download: Channels June 2018 pdf-icon [PDF 2.4MB]

Back issues of Channels can be downloaded from here. The archive of Channels dating back to 1996 is available from the Ausdance website.