The city of Birmingham has launched its inaugural international dance festival in an ambitious bid to become a dance capital.
The month-long festival, which began Monday with street performances, promises a world-class program across the city that encompasses all styles of dance catering to diverse audiences of all ages, from modern dance to ballet and Bollywood.
Opening with Moon Water by Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan on Tuesday night, the festival will showcase the work of internationally renowned dance companies including The Kirov Ballet and Japanese choreographer Saburo Teshigawara & KARAS, alongside national and locally-produced works.
British dance company Akram Khan will present a new collaboration with the National Ballet of China, "Bahok," as one of the festival highlights.
South Africa's Robyn Orlin & City Theater and Dance Group will dwell on the struggle against HIV/AIDS in Africa, with the work "We must eat our lollipops with the wrappers on."
Downtown Birmingham will also be alive with outdoor dance performances and installations choreographed by Italian Luca Silvestrini.
The climax will be the spectacular "Salsa at Sunset" finale taking place in central Birmingham with over 500 people joining a synchronized salsa routine.
"By attracting internationally-renowned dance companies, dancers and choreographers of the caliber of The Kirov Ballet, Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan and Akram Khan Company, we're confident that all eyes will be on Birmingham for the month-long Dance Festival with a truly international program," said Stuart Griffiths, the festival's co-artistic director
David Massingham, artistic director of DanceXchange, a local dance house dedicated to high quality and innovative dance by involving local communities, believes that through collaborative spirit and powerful performance, this event will take dance to the people and create a buzz of festival fever never experienced in the city before.
The festival is expected to unite the local community and inspire the nation in celebrating the myriad cultures of the world through dance.
The festival is a joint venture between DanceXchange and the Birmingham Hippodrome, a 35-million-pound (some 70 million U.S. dollars) investment which has made it both Britain's busiest theater and helped lure Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet to become the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
The festival is also supported by Birmingham City Council, Advantage West Midlands, and Arts Council England-West Midlands.
(Xinhua News Agency April 30, 2008)