Birmingham dance festival: theme of togetherness

Published: 8 March 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

La Veronal’s Pasionaria, a “dark, surreal and powerful alternative universe” Credit: Alex Font

A “rich and diverse programme” is promised including events for dance industry professionals in Birmingham International Dance Festival (BIDF 2020).

The festival theme will be togetherness and the wide variety of voices in the world. It will offer ways to take part as well as watch dance.

Lucie Mirkova, curator of BIDF 2020, said, “it’s our aspiration to bring together people from all backgrounds and walks of life in an unmissable celebration of dance in the heart of our great city of Birmingham. Dance is the perfect medium to remind us all of what unites us, joyfully celebrating equality and difference.

“Our outdoor programme will showcase some of the best dance performances from across the world as well as staging a packed weekend of social dance activity with workshops and lots of opportunities for everyone to try new styles or revisit favourites.

“Opening the 10-day free outdoor programme will be a thrilling performance by more than 150 extraordinary young people from all corners of the region in a unique dance takeover of Centenary Square, led by Black Sheep of France.

“You can expect our indoor programme to challenge the traditional ways of how audiences experience performance and what belongs on a theatre stage, ranging from watching dancers as a 3D holographic image to sinking into a bean bag and joining a unique dreamlike immersive experience.”

The theatre programme begins with the UK première at Birmingham Hippodrome of Samsara, a collaboration between Midlands artist Aakash Odedra and choreographer Hu Shenyuan of China.

Inspired by Wu Cheng'en’s 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West, the work celebrates the dance forms of India and China and is a Leicester Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome co-commission.

La Horde of France will stage To Da Bone at the Hippodrome, introducing audiences to “jumpstyle”, a high-energy mix of dance and music, while at Birmingham REP, La Veronal of Spain will present Pasionaira which draws the audience into a “dark, surreal and powerful alternative universe”.

Leading female choreographers will present a diverse programme at Midlands Arts Centre and the Hippodrome’s Patrick Studio. Silvia Gribaudi of Italy will stage the UK première of Graces while the UK’s Lucy Suggate will perform her immersive dance installation Spirit Compass and Zimbabwe / US choreographer Nora Chipaumire takes inspiration from the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s for #PUNK and 100% POP.

BIDF 2020 will run from 5 until 21 June and is part of a month of festivals celebrating Birmingham as a leading destination for dance. Further information is available at the Birmingham International Dance Festival web site.