At a special reception at the House of Lords today 17 November 2015, kindly hosted by the Bishop of Birmingham The Right Reverend David Urquhart (in his capacity as a Trustee of Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust), DanceXchange and Birmingham Hippodrome officially launched International Dance Festival Birmingham 2016.

Since the inaugural festival in 2008, IDFB has made its mark as a signature festival for the City of Birmingham, bringing people together, widening horizons, providing new experiences and contributing to the local economy. Produced by DanceXchange in partnership with Birmingham Hippodrome, IDFB 2016 between 1st and 22nd May will enhance the festival's reputation.

Once again, the finest international companies will grace the city's stages, distinctive new festival productions will enliven Birmingham's civic squares and streets, and there will be a wealth of opportunities for people to take part. From intimate to large scale, established venues to outdoor places and unusual spaces, IDFB 2016 will capture the imagination of local residents and attract visitors to the city.

In 2016, the award-winning biennial dance festival (UK Theatre Award for Achievement in Dance in 2014) boasts representatives from Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Cuba, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK and USA.

The festival will present an impressive range of shows in traditional theatre spaces across the city, from ballet to neoclassical, contemporary to physical theatre, hip hop to flamenco and circus. There will also be plenty of free performances, helping to engage and enthral shoppers and passers-by, attracting diverse new audiences and creating a buzz on the city streets.

David Massingham, DanceXchange's artistic director said: "IDFB returns in 2016 with dance for all. If you're new to dance or familiar with the dance artists and companies in our thrilling line-up, the 2016 festival promises to wow city residents and visitors to the West Midlands. The exciting and diverse programme for 2016 will see more new commissions, and an incredible 5 world and 6 UK premieres. It promises to engage people of all backgrounds in our international city as Birmingham continues to make its mark culturally and moves further into the 21st Century and the digital age."

Fiona Allan, Birmingham Hippodrome's chief executive said: "It's an exciting time to have moved to the city of Birmingham and Birmingham Hippodrome and I'm thrilled to be involved in my first International Dance Festival. Headlining performances at Birmingham Hippodrome include a mixed bill from Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Carlos Acosta's classical farewell tour, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan and Ballet British Columbia's debut performance as part of IDFB. This stellar line-up, and more across the city, proves once again Birmingham attracts the very best in international dance to the city."

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: "International Dance Festival Birmingham has become a signature event for the city and we're proud to be supporting its development. The festival creates new opportunities for artists, dance companies and producers, and offers audiences an exciting line-up of contemporary dance. Whether you're a dance fan or visiting the festival for the first time, there'll be something for everyone to enjoy."

Councillor Penny Holbrook, Cabinet Member for Skills, Learning and Culture, said: "Birmingham City Council is enormously proud of the city's cultural sector and one of the many success stories is International Dance Festival Birmingham. The festival places Birmingham on the world stage which is why it was awarded the city's signature festival status in 2014. Every two years, during IDFB, companies and artists flock to the city and closer to home many young people, schools and audiences new to the arts get involved through the festival's community engagement and participatory events. Everyone is entitled to engage in the arts and at Birmingham City Council we salute IDFB for working on making this a reality. Long may the festival's success continue."

Corey Baker, Artistic Director of Corey Baker Dance said: "Throughout IDFB, Birmingham becomes a home for internationally renowned choreographers; a shop window of artistic excellence for the public to enjoy, interact and engage with. The Festival is what brought me to Birmingham in the first place and it is exciting to be a part of it for a third time through the new Big Idea commission."

IDFB 2016 highlights:

Renowned for producing large-scale work for outdoor spaces, IDFB 2016 will not disappoint. The world premiere of The Machine Show (Centenary Square, 11-14 May) is a brand new dance and circus spectacular, with dancer and choreographer Melanie Lomoff (France) and hip-hop dance icon Salah (France), headlined with live music by the French band Rinôçérôs.

The programme will also feature the world premieres of two new touring works for outdoor places and unusual spaces, commissioned and co-produced by DanceXchange for IDFB. Both are winners of DanceXchange's 'Big Idea' commissioning strand:

The first of these 'Big Idea' commission winners is Corey Baker Dance (New Zealand/UK). Corey will present Phone Box (1, 4-14 May), a light-hearted solo using acrobatic and physical movement to bring to life the nostalgic British cultural icon, the red phone box.

The second 'Big Idea' commission is the world premiere of UK's ZoieLogic Dance Theatre Ride (11-14 May), a brand new, innovative work that tells the story of three strangers hitch-hiking on an unknown path - a journey entwined around an iconic, custom built car that comes to life and reveals its own hidden surprises.

Cubes (17-20 May), another DanceXchange production taking dance to the streets, will be a daringly dazzling performance by dancers, runners and acrobats performing spectacular solos and duets on a series of cubes.

IDFB will present World Premiere Sin Situlo by flamenco star Olga Pericet and Company in association with Flamenco Edition 2016 (The Patrick Centre, 17 & 18 May)

More UK firsts during IDFB 2016 will include Ballet British Columbia at Birmingham Hippodrome (20 & 21 May). Under the leadership of artistic director Emily Molnar, Ballet British Columbia is a unique creation-based company of 17 dancers committed to innovation in contemporary dance. For the Company's first performance at IDFB, Ballet BC brings a compelling program including Bill by Sharon Eyal, Emily Molnar's 16 + a room, and Crystal Pite's Solo Echo.

Dance: SAMPLED, a Sadler's Wells production will bring Birmingham Hippodrome's main house and front of house spaces to life. First pioneered by the London dance house, Dance: Sampled lets audiences enjoy a selection of different dance styles all in one night, for a special low price. Audiences can expect to see some of the world's best performers in an array of styles from hip hop to tango, ballet, contemporary and South Asian. The line-up includes Company Wayne McGregor, Birmingham Royal Ballet, BBC Young Dancer finalist Vidya Patel, world tango champions German Cornejo and Gisela Gallessi from Buenos Aires and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Faun. Come early to try some of the fun dance activities on offer before the show in the foyer.

IDFB 2016 focuses on work from Eastern Europe, South Asia (Kathak, Oddissi and Bharatanatyam dance) and women in dance. As part of this, at The Patrick Centre, will be Correction from VerTeDance, Ji?í Havelka and Clarinet Factory of the Czech Republic, and a world premiere of Eclipse from Hungarian Csaba Molnár. There will also be UK premieres from Indian companies Sujata & Preetisha Mohapatra & Shijith Nambiar/Parvathy Menon (India) at The Crescent Theatre.

The Patrick Centre will also present UK premieres from Company Wang Ramirez Monchichi (France/Germany) and from Compagnie Philippe Saire (Switzerland), presenting a different perspective on how to watch dance.

Two dance sector conferences will take place during the festival: The Bench Annual Conference (17 May) is the culmination of the first year of a three-year programme run by 2Faced Dance developed to respond to the lack of equality currently faced by female choreographers in the contemporary dance sector; and Navadisha 2016 (20-22 May) a British-based South Asian dance conference, programmed by New Dimension & Anita Srivastava in partnership with Sampad South Asian Arts, which celebrates the popularity and diversity of the sector and looks at future challenges.

New to the festival in 2016 is the Festival Hub at Municipal Bank on Broad Street (opposite Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Library of Birmingham). The Festival Hub will be a meeting place for artists and the public and will house a programme of events. The Municipal Bank will also be home to an exhibition of beautiful kinetic sculpture by Japanese artist Shun Ito, produced by Judy Owen Ltd. and supported by Ikon Gallery.

Festival favourites return in 2016 with Paint the Town Red (various dates) presenting flamenco, bhangra and swing in unusual spaces across Birmingham. Put Your Foot Down (7 May) presents a spectacular day of free dance performances and workshops from local to international artists.

Birmingham based venues and organisations confirmed to date as taking part in 2016 include Birmingham Hippodrome, The Patrick Centre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham Municipal Bank and, further afield, Warwick Arts Centre.

Selected Programme Schedule:

1, 4-14 May Corey Baker Dance Phone Box // Outdoor Places & Unusual Spaces WORLD PREMIERE

3 & 4 May Nederlands Dans Theater 2 (NDT2) (The Netherlands) // Birmingham Hippodrome

3 & 4 May Compagnie Philippe Saire Black Out (Switzerland) // The Patrick Centre UK PREMIERE

6 & 7 May Carlos Acosta A Classic Farewell (UK/Cuba) // Birmingham Hippodrome

6 & 7 May Csaba Molnár Eclipse (Hungary) & József Trefeli & Gabor Varga 'JINX 103' (Hungary/Switzerland) // The Patrick Centre UK PREMIERE

7 May Put Your Foot Down // Outdoor Places & Unusual Spaces

10 & 11 May Cloud Gate Dance Songs of Wanderers (Taiwan) // Birmingham Hippodrome

10 May Company Wang Ramirez Monchichi (Germany/France) // The Patrick Centre UK PREMIERE

11-14 May The Machine Show // Centenary Square WORLD PREMIERE

11-14 May ZoieLogic Dance Theatre Ride // Outdoor Places & Unusual Spaces WORLD PREMIERE

13 & 14 May VerTeDance / Ji?í Havelka / Clarinet Factor Correction (Czech Republic) // The Patrick Centre

17-20 May Cubes // Outdoor Places & Unusual Spaces

17 & 18 May Olga Pericet & Company Sin Situlo (Spain) // The Patrick Centre WORLD PREMIERE

17 & 18 May Dance: Sampled // Birmingham Hippodrome

17 & 18 May The Ricochet Project 'Smoke & Mirrors' (USA) // The Crescent Theatre

19 May Sujata & Preetisha Mohapatra & Shijith Nambiar/Parvathy Menon (India) // The Crescent Theatre UK PREMIERE

19 & 20 May Peeping Tom 32 Rue Vandenbranden (Belgium) // Warwick Arts Centre

20 May Aakash Odedra Echoes & Sanjukta Sinha Incede (UK/India) // The Patrick Centre

20 & 21 May Ballet BC Bill/16+ a room/Solo Echo (Canada) // Birmingham Hippodrome UK PREMIERE

21 May South Asian dance programme (India) // The Patrick Centre

Further programme details and venues will be confirmed at a later date. Birmingham Hippodrome shows listed above are now on sale at or 0844 338 5000.

The rest of the IDFB programme will go on sale after Christmas.

Since 2008, IDFB has worked with a multitude of critically-acclaimed companies, choreographers and dancers such as Akram Khan, Arthur Pita, Sylvie Guillem and Crystal Pite, plus a host of rising stars such as Aakash Odedra, Alexander Whitley, French B Boy superstar Salah and Birmingham Royal Ballet's Kit Holder.

DanceXchange (dx) is an internationally known charity dedicated to producing, promoting and presenting the best of UK and international dance. dx produces International Dance Festival Birmingham, and creates innovative site-specific commissions and large-scale performance events in both professional and community contexts. dx co-produces a range of touring productions, and develops work for theatres and for outdoor places and unusual spaces. dx also engages people from all backgrounds in dance activity, supports artist development and nurtures gifted young people to help shape the dance artists of the future.

Birmingham Hippodrome is an independent, not-for-profit, registered charity. The unsubsidised Hurst Street venue averages over 500,000 visits annually making it the most popular single auditorium in the UK. Its partners include Birmingham Royal Ballet and DanceXchange, it presents all of Welsh National Opera's repertoire, it welcomes the best in international dance, West End and Broadway musicals and is home to the world's biggest Pantomime. Birmingham Hippodrome sells more seats for dance than any other theatre outside London.

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people's lives. ACE supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries - from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature and crafts to collections. Between 2010 and 2015, ACE will invest £1.9 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

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