International Dance Festival Birmingham 2014 Kicks Off in the UK Today
The award-winning International Dance Festival Birmingham, one of Europe's biggest dance festivals, returns to the city from today, 24 April 2014 - bringing the theatres, streets and squares of Birmingham to life with four consecutive weeks of dance. Following three previous successful festivals in 2008, 2010 and 2012, this biennial event, co-produced by DanceXchange and Birmingham Hippodrome, once again features an eclectic and jam-packed programme bursting with world-class performers, unique international collaborations, premieres, new commissions and a range of participatory opportunities in venues across Birmingham and the West Midlands.
In an exciting new relationship for IDFB 2014, the festival will work for the first time with Birmingham's renowned Symphony Hall to create Concert Danse; an ambitious reimagining of Durufle's Requiem performed by Birmingham-based choir Ex Cathedra alongside Que?be?cois Dance Company Cas Public and a talented cast of over 50 UK musicians and dancers. This unique production on Friday 2 May will combine incredible live music with evocative dance to create an ethereal, haunting atmosphere, transforming Symphony Hall as never before.
As in previous festivals, IDFB 2014 brings many of the city's premier arts organisations and venues together to work in partnership and celebrate the region's collective and vibrant cultural scene. These venues include Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Warwick Arts Centre and the Crescent Theatre. Less conventional venues will host social dance events throughout the festival, with the festival culminating with a four night outdoor finale B-Town in Victoria Square featuring International and award winning street dance and music performers in a b-boy dance spectacle - battling across multiple stages in the heart of the city.
Following the success of their IDFB 2012 performances, Birmingham Royal Ballet will kick off the 2014 festival with two mixed bills featuring world premieres of new works by young, emerging choreographers and heritage pieces by one of the choreographic greats of the twentieth century. The new works, Kit Holder's Quatrain and Alexander Whitley's Kin. will be performed alongside Sir Frederick Ashton's Le Rendezvous and Fac?ade between 24 and 26 April at the Crescent Theatre.
IDFB 2014 performance highlights at Birmingham Hippodrome include Swiss Company Alias' mesmerising Sideways Rain and Vancouver's Kidd Pivot led by Crystal Pite, who will perform the Shakespeare inspired Tempest Replica. Much loved and familiar names returning here for the festival include the legendary Sylvie Guillem, Sadler's Wells' Breakin Convention and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's new work m¡longa, a contemporary take on Argentine tango. Finally, internationally acclaimed New Adventures and RE:Bourne bring a new production of Lord of the Flies to the Hippodrome featuring a cast of young performers from the Midlands.
In DanceXchange's Studio Theatre The Patrick Centre, Luca Silvestrini's Protein explores themes of identity in Border Tales, Mickael 'Marso' Riviere presents a double bill working with Egyptian and Lebanese artists and South Asian dance artist Aakash Odedra premieres a collaboration with one of the world's leading digital arts organisations Ars Electronica from Austria.
Elsewhere in the city and wider region Birmingham Repertory Theatre hosts the astonishing Canadian circus company Les 7 Doigts de la Main's new show Se?quence 8, and Irish company Fabulous Beast perform their own version of The Rite of Spring & Petrushka at Warwick Arts Centre. This year, the festival also includes the opportunity to celebrate the best of the Midlands' youth dance companies at MY (Midlands Youth) Dance Festival in Ruddock Performing Arts Centre at King Edward's School, Edgbaston.
Also new for IDFB 2014 is a weekly opportunity to 'paint the town red' with a series of social dance events open to all - in a range of styles including swing and lindy-hop, tango, capoeira, jazz fusion and house. Spaces across Birmingham will throw open their doors to host weekly public gatherings such as a Brazilian street party, a midnight tango milonga and a footwork fusion dance night.
As part of his international residency for IDFB 2014 choreographer Corey Baker from New Zealand, will work with members of the public and professional dance artists to perform a 'Haka day out', based on the traditional Ma?ori war dance.