Leicester festival welcomes Philadelphia dancers

Published: 23 April 2017
Reporter: Steve Orme

Excited: Pawlet Brookes
UK debut: Philadanco Credit: Lois Greenfield

Philadelphia-based dance company Philadanco is one of the attractions of Let’s Dance International Frontiers, a “dynamic” annual dance festival in Leicester.

LDIF’s executive artistic director Pawlet Brookes is “really excited” about hosting Philadanco.

“They are probably not as well known in the UK as they should be. Their founder and artistic director Joan Myers Brown has been instrumental in the US for breaking down barriers to enable African-American dancers to gain access to training and opportunities and she was awarded the National Medal of the Arts by President Obama.

“We’re delighted that Joan will be speaking at the conference Identity and Choreographic Practice on 9 May, and we’ll be able to get an insight into her life and career.

“But there are so many elements to this year’s programme that I’m looking forward to for different reasons: new performances from emerging artists, innovative documentaries, workshops and insightful discussions.”

The theme of Identity and Choreographic Practice is reflected in the programming of work such as Clay, featuring American contemporary dancer Asha Thomas and British flamenco dancer Yinka Esi Graves, which will be performed at Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester on Sunday 7 May.

“We’re honoured to have Urban Bush Women launch the festival on Saturday 29 April, International Dance Day, at the Mercure Grand Hotel in Leicester. We’re hoping it’ll be something really special. If you’ve seen Urban Bush Women perform you’ll know that this is one not to be missed, and for music lovers we have live music from Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist and composer George Caldwell.

“Year on year we attract new audiences to the festival through different events—from documentaries, seminars and performances that often showcase not only high-quality dance but also touch on key issues that affect everyone. We want as many people as possible to be able to engage with dance and dance performances, so we aim to make the events as accessible as possible.”

LDIF runs at various locations in Leicester including Attenborough Arts Centre, Phoenix Cinema, Curve and some non-theatre spaces. The festival runs from Saturday 29 April until Saturday 13 May.

The full programme is available at the Let’s Dance International Frontiers web site.