All eyes will fall on Birmingham next year as the city again hosts its renowned International Dance Festival, writes Diane Parkes.
Birmingham will play host to the finest performers from around the world as part of the city’s International Dance Festival.
Sylvie Guillem together with Russell Maliphant, Royal Ballet of Flanders, controversial Canadian choreographer Dave St-Pierre, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba and Jonzi D have all been confirmed for the month-long festival next spring.
More than 1,000 people are also being asked to get involved in a huge public event called Home. Based on people’s ideas of the meaning of home, the final performance will see dancers moving through the streets of the city performing on doormats.
The biennial festival, which was first held in Birmingham in 2008, will reach theatres, public spaces and the streets of the city between April 23 and May 19.
Venues taking part include Birmingham Hippodrome, Warwick Arts Centre, The Crescent and Mac, with outdoor works planned for Victoria Square and the city centre.
At its helm are co-artistic directors David Massingham, who is artistic director of DanceXchange, and Stuart Griffiths, Hippodrome chief executive. They told the launch at Birmingham’s Patrick Centre they were hoping to build on the success of the previous festival in 2010 which saw audience involvement of more than 60,000 people.
“This festival is no longer the new kid on the block,” said Mr Massingham. “And the main aim is always looking for bright new ideas. It is about bringing the world of dance together in Birmingham.
“The city’s existing dance offering, provided by DanceXchange, Birmingham Hippodrome and Birmingham Royal Ballet, has already created the biggest dance hub in the UK.
“IDFB 2012 not only creates a window to what is now a world centre for dance, but extends our reach to new, young audiences by breaking free from traditional venues and providing opportunities to participate in many different ways.
“The central IDFB 2012 productions will bring together the positive aspects of community and engage thousands of people across the region.
“With many of the festival’s events being free of charge, IDFB 2012 is a great opportunity for us to work with our partners to help promote and celebrate Birmingham’s rich cultural offering to a wide audience.”
IDFB 2012 is sponsored by investment management consultants Brewin Dolphin and receives nearly £1 million in public money. Funding comes from Arts Council England, Birmingham City Council and Advantage West Midlands with an additional grant from the European Union via the Investing in the City Regional ERDF project managed by Marketing Birmingham. This year there is also additional funding from Dancing for the Games, part of the Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands, specifically for the Home project.