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International Dance Day

International Dance Day is celebrated each year on 29th April, the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), the creator of modern ballet.

Our inspiration for this year’s IDD is a 19th century photograph from the archive of King Edward VI High School for Girls:

Pygmalion & Galatea, 26th July 1887

 

Pygmalion & Galatea is an enchanting myth telling the story of a Cypriot sculptor (Pygmalion) who falls in love with his sculpture (Galatea). Pygmalion prays to the goddess Aphrodite asking if Galatea could be brought to life. His prayers are answered and much celebratory dancing and singing follows, attesting to the power of love.

There have been numerous re-tellings of the story, including an opera-ballet first performed in the 18th century:

Sheet music from the original publication, 1748

 

More recently, a 2018 Japanese / Italian collaboration of Pygmalion was highly acclaimed, the experimental dance described as “mesmerising”. [The FT, 2/2/2018]

 

The myth of Pygmalion & Galatea has truly transcended ages and cultures, bringing storytelling to life through the common language of dance.

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