International Day of Dance is a global celebration of dance and how the physical artform can break down language and cultural barriers as well as bring communities together.

As the Queen’s Baton Relay has been travelling to every corner of the Commonwealth, many Batonbearers have used the special experience to showcase dance. Each performance the Baton has witnessed carries a different meaning and is significant to each community in a different way.

Let’s take a look at some of the dances we’ve seen along the route so far…

Kandyan Dance in Sri Lanka

Members of the local community performed a Kandyan Dance at the Victoria Dam when the Baton visited in January. This style of dance is traditionally only performed by males and strongly features dynamic footwork, leaps, and whirls.

Setapa Dance in Botswana

In November, the Setapa Dance was performed along the Baton’s route and celebrates the harvest season. The dance heavily involves intricate footwork and tapping, which coined the phrase “go tapa tapa”, which evolved into the name of the dance Setapa.

Maafathi Neshun Dance in the Maldives

The Maafathi Neshun Dance was performed to celebrate the Queen’s Baton Relay in January. It is performed by 20 women, standing in two rows of 10 holding a piece of string adorned with flowers. The performers dance in different styles and formations to convey different symbolisms.

Sega Dance in Mauritius

The Sega Dance was performed when the Baton visited Mauritius in November and is accompanied by musical instruments such as the ravanne or maravanne and, when combined, truly emanate the spirit of Africa. Due to its cultural significance, the Sega Dance is classed by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Bele Dance in Grenada

Local performers danced the Bele when the Baton visited Grenada in April. Thought to be one of the oldest Creole dances, the Bele is traditionally performed during a full moon and has some similarities to African fertility dances.

Odissi Dance in India

When the Baton visited India in January, the Odissi Dance was performed. Traditionally women dance the Odissi and represents spiritual and religious concepts and ideas.