Coming Up at the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2014

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With the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2014 now over a week underway, there are still plenty more exciting shows to look forward to before the month is through.

After their eagerly anticipated openings last night, both Sylvie Guillem’s 6000 Miles Away and the Aakash Odedra Company’s double bill Murmur & Inked will be returning this evening to the Birmingham Hippodrome, on the main stage and in the Patrick Centre, respectively. Widely hailed as one of the world’s greatest dancers, in 6000 Miles Away, Sylvie Guillem performs William Forsythe’s Rearray and Mats Ek’s Bye, set to Beethoven’s last sonata. Meanwhile, in Murmur and Inked, Aakash Odedra collaborates with choreographer Lewis Major, the Ars Electronica Futurelab and Oliver Award-winner Damien Jalet, to explore themes of dyslexia and the transformation of the body through scarring and tattoos.

Bye, solo choreographed by Mats Ek for Sylvie Guillem 2010

From Thursday through to the weekend, you’ll be able to catch some awe-inspiring acrobatics from groundbreaking Montreal circus company Les 7 Doigts de la Main in Séquence 8 at the Birmingham REP, as well as some impressive work from Birmingham City University’s School of Architecture, which will be displayed in a Millennium Point open exhibition titled All of Birmingham is a Stage.

OOn Friday and Saturday, Company Decalage will present a world premiere double bill of Match & Half Way to the Other Side in the Hippodrome’s Patrick Centre, while outside, Corey Baker Dance will be giving passers-by the chance to experience some traditional Maori Haka dancing in Centenary Square.

Lord of the Flies

Next week’s festivities will kick off on Tuesday with Border Tales from Luca Silvestrini’s Protein, a witty, satirical show blending dance, dialogue and live music, and taking place in the Patrick Centre. From Wednesday, the Hippodrome’s main stage will be taken over by Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures for a chilling yet beautiful dance adaptation of William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies. Finally on Saturday, those a little more strapped for cash can enjoy an array of free, outdoor dance performances at Put Your Foot Down in Spiceall Street, near the Bullring.

There’ll also be lots to see and do during the last week of the festival (more on this soon), including DJs, dancers, workshops and demonstrations and Sadler’s Wells’s Breakin’ Convention, and an exploration of Argentinian tango in Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s M¡longa, both in the Hippodrome theatre.

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For more information on all upcoming shows and to book tickets, visit the IDFB website.

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International Dance Festival Birmingham – Get Ready for a Month of Dance Shows!

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From now until Sunday 25th May, a series of exciting dance events will be taking place in venues across the city as part of this year’s International Dance Festival Birmingham.

Jointly produced by the Birmingham Hippodrome and DanceXchange, the IDFB ranks among the world’s biggest dance festivals, and aims to showcase a diverse array of talent in styles and settings ranging from ballet to urban fusion, traditional Maori to circus skills, pop-up street performances to seated theatre shows. Whether you’re a die-hard dance fan or simply interested in finding out more, you’re almost guaranteed to find something to catch your interest on this year’s jam-packed schedule!

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Having already kicked off with a collection of short works by the Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Crescent Theatre, the programme of events continues this evening with the Midlands Youth Dance Festival, organised by Dance4 in collaboration with DanceXchange.

On Tuesday, I’ll be attending Sideways Rain, a contemporary dance performance by Genevan company Alias and the first of several shows taking place at the Hippodrome over the next few weeks (watch this space for my review). Other shows coming up at the Hippodrome include Kidd Pivot’s Tempest Replica, Sylvie Guillem’s 6000 Miles Away, New Adventures’ The Lord of the Flies, Sadler’s Wells’s Breakin’ Convention and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s M¡longa. The theatre’s Patrick Centre will also be taken over at different points during the festival by Murmur & Inked, a double bill from the highly sought-after Aakash Odedra Company; the world premiere of Company Decalage’s Match & Halfway to the Other Side; Aerites’s witty, hip-hop fusion piece Planites; and Protein’s Border Tales, a satirical blend of dance, dialogue and live music.

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Elsewhere, Symphony Hall will play host to the world premiere of Concert Dansé, a unique collaboration between Birmingham’s Ex Cathedra choir and Québécois dance troupe Cas Public, while at the Birmingham REP, you’ll be able to catch some spectacular circus skills in Séquence 8 from Les 7 Doits De La Main. The IDFB will even be extending its reach beyond Birmingham’s borders to Coventry’s Warwick Arts Centre with Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre‘s sharply contrasting Petrushka and The Rite of Spring shows.

Sylvie Guillem

If you don’t have much cash to splash this month, though, you needn’t miss out on the festivities: there will also be plenty of free outdoor shows taking place at Village Green, Cannon Hill Park and throughout the city centre. These include Corey Baker Dance‘s mobile, audience-led Headphones (follow @IDFB #headphones on Twitter to find out the exact locations on the day, and send in your dance styles and music genres choices); traditional Maori Haka demonstrations; Denada Dance Theatre’s “duel of seduction”, Young Man!; Candoco Dance Company’s Tennesee Williams-inspired duet, Studies For C; and various freestyle and urban shows from professional and community groups. Work by students from Birmingham City University’s School of Architecture will also be displayed in an exhibition at Millennium Point titled “All of Birmingham is a Stage” .

For more information on times and locations, and to book tickets for indoor shows, visit the IDFB website.

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International Dance Festival Birmingham: Breakin’ Convention & £10 Dance Shows

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With a diverse array of contemporary dance productions – some costing as little as a tenner to attend – the International Dance Festival Birmingham will return to the Hippodrome this Spring. Featuring a range of home-grown performers as well as international stars, there’s plenty to look forward to for dance fans and interested newcomers alike.

First, on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th April, you’ll be able to see Alias‘s acclaimed Sideways Rain for just £10. Described as a “powerfully visual examination of human nature,” the show features 14 dancers crossing the stage with “hypnotic”, “mesmerising” movements. Next, on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd May, Kidd Pivot will present Tempest Replica, an innovative retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, mixing dance, original music, text and special effects, with tickets again available for only £10. Performance work assembled by Sadlers Wells associate artist Crystal Pite is combined with a “rich visual design”, including masks, projection and imaginative costumes. Families are warned that the shows may contain nudity or adult themes, and as such, are not recommended for children under 12.

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Following this, on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st May, the Hippodrome will welcome back Breakin’ Convention, which will bring together emerging local talent with acclaimed hip-hop stars for a series of “jaw-dropping” shows. Hosted by Hip-Hop Guru and Sadlers Wells Associate Artist Jonzi D, the two-day festival will include performances by all-male company Antics, young Staffordshire dance group Company Elite, Birmingham duo Marius and Andrei, Nottingham’s NuProjeks and Wolverhampton’s 6-year-old YouTube sensation B-Girl Terra, along with her sister Eddie and their b-boy crew, Soul Mavericks. Many of these performers have already achieved huge success on stage and screen elsewhere, with Antics having made it to the finals of Sky’s Got to Dance contest, while B-Girl Terra’s amazing performance at the Pro Chelles competition in Paris gained her six million YouTube followers, as well as appearances on popular TV programmes such as the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

ILL-Abilities_BC12_Credit Belinda LawleySharing the stage with these Midlands-based artists will be RADA-trained hip-hop storyteller Ukweli Roach, the multi-award-winning French hip-hop group Wanted Posse and the internationally acclaimed ILL-Abilities, a dance troupe who aim to smash stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding disability, testing their own limits as well as challenging their audiences’ views.

The jam-packed festival, co-produced by DanceXchange, will spill out across the theatre foyer and and into public spaces beyond with various pre-show events, freestyle sessions, live DJ demos, workshops and a hip-hop marketplace. A full schedule is set to follow soon.

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Click here for more information about the International Dance Festival Birmingham, or visit the Birmingham Hippodrome website to book tickets.

Top photo by Paul Hampart Soumian. All other photographs by Belinda Lawley.