By: Mar. 08, 2017
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LET'S DANCE INTERNATIONAL FRONTIERS is the dynamic annual dance festival in Leicester which has been performing to increasing audiences since its inception in 2010. This year's event - April 29th-May 13th - features an extensive, exciting programme designed to give audiences the opportunity of seeing work by nationally and internationally renowned dance companies, brand new work crisply delivered by fast rising names from the UK as well as work from locally based dancers and choreographers. LDIF17 will present performances, documentaries, workshops and discussion exploring this year's theme of 'Identity and Choreographic Practice'.

Diversity is key for LDIF17 and this year's programme is designed to embrace the cosmopolitan nature of Leicester by bringing diversity to the forefront in dance while celebrating the work of dancers at all stages of their careers. Produced by Serendipity, a diversity-led organisation based at Leicester's venerable De Montfort University, LDIF 17 will stage performances by celebrated companies including the US-based Philadanco, and Urban Bush Women and UK-based dance companies, solo performers and the work of fast-rising choreographers.

April 29th Urban Bush Women Mercure Leicester, The Grand Hotel 7.30pm £16
May 2nd-3rd Jawole Willa Jo Zollar Curve RR3 9.30am-5.30pm £85
May 3rd Pharaohs of Memphis Phoenix Cinema 7.00pm £8.60
May 4th Signatures mixed bill Curve 7.30pm £10
May 5th Autograph new work Attenborough Arts Centre 7.30pm £10/£8
May 7th Asha Thomas, Yinka Esi Graves Attenborough Arts Centre 7.30pm £10/£8
May 8th Gurumbe Phoenix Cinema 7.00pm £8.60
May 9th LDIF 17 Conference City Hall 9.00am £55
May 10th Pauline Mayers Guildhall 7.30pm £10
May 10th 11th Philadanco workshop contact info@serendipity-uk.com
May 11th Invisible Visibility Attenborough Arts Centre 2.00pm-5.00pm £15
May 12th 13th Philadanco Curve 7.45pm £16

The festival launches on April 29th, International Dance Day, at Leicester's Mercure Hotel King's Ballroom with the hotly anticipated return of the New York based Urban Bush Women who wowed Leicester audiences last year. The company's critically acclaimed jazz inspired programme includes 'Walking With Trane, Side B' (photo left) inspired by the life of the great John 'Trane' Coltrane (1926-1967), American saxophonist and composer who pioneered free jazz in a time of great racial tension and who remains one of the most significant saxophonists in music history. Urban Bush Women were founded in 1984 by the visionary former dancer, teacher and choreographer, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar; on May 2nd and 3rd there will be a rare opportunity to join Jawole in a two-day masterclass at Leicester's Curve Theatre studio.

LDIF 17 is delighted to present the UK debut of the Philadelphia-based ballet company PHILADANCO founded in 1970 and led by the trailblazing Joan Myers Brown (left) to train and present African American dancers. Philadanco bring their mixed bill of four pieces to the Curve in Leicester on May 12th and 13th. In 2013 Joan was awarded the USA's highest civic honour, the National Medal for the Arts, by President Barack Obama; Joan will be a keynote speaker at LDIF 17's conference on May 9th at Leicester City Hall when the theme of 'Identity and Choreographic Practice' will be discussed by a range of practitioners and hosted by LDIF's Executive Artistic Director, Pawlet Brookes.

Says Pawlet: "We first saw the work of Joan and Philadanco when we screened the UK premiere of the film 'Black Ballerina', the story of several black women from different generations who fell in love with ballet. One of the women was Joan Myers Brown who has been instrumental in Black dance training in America, and was recognised in 2013 for her lifelong work to drive equality for Black dancers in mainstream dance by President Barak Obama. We contacted the film's promoter and discovered common ground: that we are rare on the international circuit as Black female promoters of high profile international work. This connection allowed us to build an alliance and seek out the best work from across the pond - I'm thrilled that Philadanco will celebrate its UK debut by performing at LDIF and that we can support and present this quality of work here in the UK."

LDIF prides itself in presenting pioneering new work by emerging practitioners and this year's programme, Signatures, is staged at the Curve in Leicester on May 4th in partnership with Dance4, the international centre for the development of dance in Nottingham. Six works will be performed by companies including Breakin' Convention star Si Rawlinson (left), contemporary dance company Elisha Hamilton Dance who recently performed at The Place's Resolution festival in London; and the fast rising dancer/choreographer Ella Mesma whose work focuses on social and cultural identity.

On May 5th 'Autograph' - a partnership between Serendipity, Dance4 and Attenborough Arts Centre at the University of Leicester - will present 'Hyper-Normal' by Protocol Dance Company led by choreographer Lanre Malaolu and 'Grey Matter' by Jessica Walker who returns to LDIF with fellow Trinity Laban musician Nathen Durasamy.

American contemporary dancer Asha Thomas and British flamenco dancer Yinka Esi Graves (left) present 'Clay' on May 7th at the Attenborough Arts Centre in Leicester. 'Clay' is a an elegant work created by the two women's collective memories and experiences.
The Leeds-based choreographer/performer Pauline Mayers will present a new piece of work on May 10th that will be followed by a dialogue with the audience.

Courses and workshops:
LDIF17 is hosting a comprehensive range of courses, workshops and discussions including a half day symposium on May 11th at the Attenborough Arts Centre reaching out to disabled dancers from BAME (Black, Asian, minority, ethnic) communities featuring a panel of speakers and networking opportunities.

LDIF17 will screen two documentaries in partnership with Phoenix Cinema. The UK premiere of 'Pharaohs of Memphis' directed by Phoebe Driscoll is on May 3rd; on May 8th 'Gurumbe: Afro Andalusian Memories' by director Miguel Ángel Rosales tells the story of the Afro Andalusians and their side-lined contribution to the progression of Flamenco in Gurumbé.

Serendipity have produced a series of beautifully designed and written books about dance including 'Black Women In Dance' (left), 'Blurring Boundaries: Urban Street Meets Contemporary Dance' and 'Hidden Movement: Contemporary Voices of British Black Dance'. These and other titles will be on sale during LDIF and are available to purchase online.

Pawlet Brookes, Executive Artistic Director, Serendipity said: "We are delighted to be able to present this programme featuring high calibre dancers and choreographers from around the world. Over the last seven years we have welcomed some remarkable dance companies to Leicester and this year is no different, with trailblazing dance company PHILADANCO, and their founder Joan Myers Brown".

LDIF17 is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England's Grants for the Arts programme.

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England said: "One of the Arts Council's ambitions is to see our National Lottery funding giving people the chance to enjoy great arts events in the places they live and this year's Leicester International Dance Festival promises to do just that. It will be great to see audiences enjoying world class artists from around the globe, whilst also providing an important platform for conversations about diversity within our country's dance sector."

Sarah Levitt, Head of Arts and Museums, Leicester City Council said: "Let's Dance International Frontiers has become a feature in Leicester's cultural calendar. We are thrilled that Leicester is able to play host to world renowned dancers and companies, and our communities can engage with outstanding performances, workshops and discussions about dance practice."

Follow Let's Dance International Frontiers on:
Twitter: @LetsDanceFront #LDIF17
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LetsDanceFrontiers


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