A little more background...
Stuart Griffiths, director of the Birmingham Hippodrome has slowly been expanding the dance programming at the theatre for some time. Now, with the Dancexchange thw theatre has launched the first International Dance Festival Birmingham with the aim of securing the city's position as an international dance capital.
The month long festival will encompass all styles of dance and, as the press release says, "express the youthful, diverse and energetic spirit of Birmingham." Alongside the theatre programme there will be some large-scale participatory and site-specific performances
A number of venues will be used from the The Birmingham REP and Town Hall, to Birmingham Hippodrome to the IKON Gallery’s Eastside. The Festival will also take over outdoor locations in the City Centre and shop windows in the retail heart of the City.
David Massingham, Artistic Director of DanceXchange and Festival Co-Director comments: “In great cities all around the world, I see arts festivals creating passion and energy, adding spirit and excitement, galvanising local communities, celebrating identities. Birmingham's new International Dance Festival is about bringing one of the most human and accessible artforms into our everyday lives.”
Research carried out in 2006 determined that the West Midlands has a growing audience for dance. As in the rest of the UK, the region has recently seen increasing audiences for both contemporary dance and ballet, but here the figures are pretty impressive. Between 2002/03 and 2005/06, dance attendance in the West Midlands grew by 12.7%. Local audiences are also younger and more ethnically diverse than almost any other artform - something I can verify from my own experience.
Stuart Griffiths, Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome and Festival Co-Director is confident that the festival will secure Birmingham’s position as unthreatened dance capital of the UK: “This truly will be a festival with an international reach. We’ve managed to secure the involvement of some of the world’s most prominent dance companies and the programme looks set to help establish Birmingham as a major cultural player within the UK, and across the world, ” he said.
This really is a truly impressive festival and a great line-up of companies. I happen to think the Hippodrome is the best theatre in the UK for watching dance. Griffiths and Massingham have done great things promoting and expanding the range of dance available in the region already. Let's hope this new venture gets all the support it deserves.
Kirov rep and dates are already in the Kirov/Maryinsky forum. Others will be posted here as soon as I have them. I will also advise when booking is open.