[Update: The website has been updated so most of the links below are broken.]
The big press release of the day appears to be for the International Dance Festival Birmingham coming out of DanceXchange and the Hippodrome with events happening at the Rep, Town Hall, Ikon and the Mailbox from 28th April to 24th May.
Quote from the festival co-directors:
David Massingham, Artistic Director of DanceXchange: “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.”
Stuart Griffiths, Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome: “This truly will be a festival with an international reach. Weâ€™ve managed to secure the involvement of some of the worldâ€™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.”
When they say international they’re not kidding and it’s great to see a Birmingham festival that lives up to that tagline with dancers from Taiwan, Cuba, China, South Africa, Russia, India, Pakistan, Japan, Australia, USA, Portugal and more. But there’s also local talent involved. Quickly scanning through the PDFs I spotted the phrase “Birmingham-based rising star Rosie Kay” and did some digging. Here’s her pretty well stocked website which has plenty to dig through along with a link to her Flickr stream containing a mix of press shots and informal behind the scenes photos. Nice. Here’s one from her company’s production of The Wild Party:
Rosie appears to have had a pretty good 2007. This interview goes through some of the highlights and covers the Birmingham connection.
What bought you back to the UK – and Birmingham, where you’re based?
I’d almost given up dancing – I knew I wanted to be a choreographer, but I couldn’t be abroad, I needed my own language, and I’d have to start again. I saw the Dance Artist in Residence post at DanceXchange in Birmingham. I’d taught a huge amount but this kind of gave me my choreographic stripes. It was great experience working with a massive range of people – and it just got me back into the UK scene.
I had a good look at the funding system and around then (2003) it was becoming more regional. I thought if I could survive in Birmingham – with beautiful studios and real support, I could really invent my own world here. And I’ve had dancers from Korea, Hawaaii, Brazil, people come and work with me. I don’t feel the pressure of a big scene – and I don’t feel lonely, because there’s DanceXchange.
[Later: I just discovered her company did the wonderful Ballet on the Buses one of the highlights of last year’s Fierce Festival.]
Expect more coverage of this event over the forthcoming months…