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Ashley Lobo to organise a fundraising ‘dance-a-thon’ for COVID-19 relief on International Dance Day

dance-a-thon for COVID-19 relief

The renowned educator and choreographer says that art unfailingly generates hope and brings people together even in a grim situation

International Dance Day is a global celebration of dance that takes place every year on April 29 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Jean-Georges Noverre, the creator of modern ballet. The day was ideated by the dance committee of the International Theatre Institute, the world’s largest performing arts organisation founded in 1948 in synergy with UNESCO. For the last two years, most of the events and celebrations on this day have been virtual owing to the pandemic. This year, India is battling the second wave of COVID-19 and Australian-Indian educator and choreographer Ashley Lobo is stepping up to do his bit. His acclaimed institute The Danceworx Academy of Performing Arts is presenting the International Dance Day ‘Dance-A-Thon’ to mark the day and raise funds for COVID-19 relief.

On April 29, for three hours, three dance styles will be taught non-stop on cloud platform Zoom from 12 noon to 3 pm. Those wanting to tune in can register and choose from five fee options, ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 1000. Says Ashley, “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching out and lifting people up. The point was to have people contribute any amount that they are comfortable with. I will join the event towards the end to have a fun interactive session with everyone present.”

Ashley felt compelled to do something to not just uplift spirits but make a contribution to the country’s ongoing battle with COVID-19. He says, “The situation is very grim. Everyone’s world has shrunk and there is anxiety all around. Things have dramatically changed over the past year for the world of dance, and while the going has been tough, I feel, we must not give up. Our touring company The Navdhara India Dance Theatre was supposed to have a tour of the Netherlands this year but that has been postponed due to the circumstances. While there have been such disappointments, the online medium has given me a chance to continue to work with dancers from across the globe. I am currently choreographing a piece on the climate crisis, for Company E based in Washington Dc. We can all use this time to evolve and be better artistes and human beings.” Art is always interacting with life, he says and history shows that dancers and artists have always reinvented themselves to keep up with change.

Says Ashley, “When faced with a crisis, artists have always built new identities and fostered positive change across the world. This pandemic has pushed us out of our comfort zones, and that too will bring forth a lot of creativity and innovation. Dancers all over the world are now finding ways to be creatively independent, and every little triumph gives everyone else hope. On a day dedicated to dance, I too want to bring hope to everyone and remind them that we all get through this time together. The future will look brighter for us all.”