Samoan artist gets the nod

13 April 2016, 12:00AM

U.N.E.S.C.O has chosen Samoan and New Zealand choreographer and multi-disciplinary artist, Lemi Ponifasio, as the author of this year’s International Dance Day message.

Lemi Ponifasio will be honoured at the International Dance Day ceremony at La Villette Theatre in Paris on Friday 29 April, 2016 where he will give his message and a performance by his company MAU.

Lemi Ponifasio joins dance luminaries Merce Cunningham, William Forsythe, Maurice Bejart, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker in a list of choreographers who have been invited to give the dance message each year since 1982. 

The message is distributed by U.N.E.S.C.O throughout the world.

At the frontier of global contemporary art, theatre and dance, Auckland-based Lemi Ponifasio has received international awards as a choreographer, designer, opera director, and for his theatre and dance works.

“My message is a prayer and it carries within it the aims of my work, and wairua of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific,” says Lemi Ponifasio.

Established in 1982, International Dance Day is promoted by the International Dance Council (CID) and is aimed at attracting attention to the art of dance. 

The official message for International Dance Day is sent to over 100,000 dance professionals in 200 countries and is translated into dozens of languages.


International Dance 

Day Message 2016


touch the cosmos

the source of our divinity


the face of the ancestors

so we can see our children

woven above

beside below

unite all within

our flesh and bones

and memory

the Earth is turning

humans in mass migration

turtles gather in silent preparation

the heart is injured

make dance

a movement of love

a movement of justice

the light of truth

- Lemi Ponifasio

13 April 2016, 12:00AM

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