Birmingham International Dance Festival (BIDF 2020) returns from 5 – 21 June 2020. BIDF 2020 will deliver a rich and diverse programme across Outdoor, Theatre, Site-Specific, and Participation, plus events for dance industry professionals. Expect fantastic dance in the city’s theatres and a takeover of Birmingham’s streets and squares, with show-stopping free performances and opportunities to get dancing.  

This year the festival is inspired by the themes of togetherness and the wide variety of voices in our diverse world, offering thrilling ways to experience dance, both watching and taking part. 

Lucie Mirkova, Curator of BIDF 2020, said: “This summer it’s our aspiration to bring together people from all backgrounds and walks of life in an unmissable celebration of dance in the heart of our great city of Birmingham. Dance is the perfect medium to remind us all of what unites us, joyfully celebrating equality and difference.” 

The festival attracts artists from all over the world committed to pushing the boundaries of dance as a contemporary art form, as well as providing a platform for local talent to shine. BIDF 2020 celebrates Birmingham as a young, diverse city, a place where anything is possible, where the extraordinary happens.

Lucie continues, “Our outdoor programme will be showcasing some of the best dance performances currently touring, from across the world, as well as staging a packed weekend of social dance activity with workshops and lots of opportunities for everyone to try new styles or revisit favourites.  Opening the ten-day free outdoor programme will be a thrilling performance by over 150 extraordinary young people from all corners of the region in a unique dance takeover of Centenary Square, led by Company Black Sheep (France). 

“Together with our great partners in venues throughout the city, you can expect our indoor programme to challenge the traditional ways of how audiences experience performance, and what belongs on a theatre stage, ranging from watching dancers as a 3D holographic image to sinking into a bean bag and joining a unique dreamlike immersive experience.”

The exciting programme will delight a wide range of audiences and participants, inspiring local people, and attracting visitors to the city. 

Theatre Programme Highlights

The theatre programme runs from 9 – 20 June beginning with the UK premiere at Birmingham Hippodrome of Samsara, a collaboration between Midlands artist Aakash Odedra and choreographer Hu Shenyuan (China).  Inspired by Wu Cheng'en’s classic 16th-century Chinese novel ‘Journey to the West’, the work celebrates the dance forms of India and China and is a co-commission by Curve, Leicester and Birmingham Hippodrome.

Also at the Hippodrome is La Horde (France) with To Da Bone, introducing audiences to ‘jumpstyle’ a high-energy mix of dance and music, while at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, La Veronal (Spain) presents the incredible Pasionaira, a theatrical tour de force which draws the audience into a dark, surreal and powerful alternative universe.

Leading female choreographers present a diverse programme at the Midlands Arts Centre and Patrick Studio. From the witty and empowering UK Premiere of Graces from renowned choreographer Silvia Gribaudi (Italy) to Lucy Suggate’s (UK) immersive dance installation Spirit Compass and Nora Chipaumire’s (Zimbabwe/US) #PUNK and 100% POP, inspired by her youth in the 1970s, '80s and '90s.

Digital works include 0AR from AΦE (UK) offering an immersive AR (augmented reality) experience merging dance and technology, as audiences explore a collection of short dance works using connected tablets which enable them to interact with the performance. TOM is a dance for camera installation created by award-winning choreographer and filmmaker Wilkie Branson (UK), who explores storytelling using the hip hop language of b-boying and cutting-edge technologies including animation, projection mapping and sound design.

Outdoor Programme Highlights

Centenary Square becomes a stage from 5 – 14 June, a place for people to watch dance, be inspired, and join in with workshops and demonstrations. The Festival opens on 5 June with Apaches an explosion of dance and movement styles from Contemporary and Hip-Hop to Ballet, Kathak and Martial Arts, performed by 150 young people from across the region led by SaÏdo Lehlouh of Company Black Sheep (France) and a team of professional West Midlands dance artists. Apaches is produced by DanceXchange for BIDF and co-commissioned by Birmingham Hippodrome.

The opening weekend is a celebration of dance entitled Birmingham Dances. With workshops and demonstrations of Swing, Cuban Salsa, Vogue and disco along with a youth and community programme representing the diversity of Birmingham and the region, audiences can take to the dance floor as well enjoy seeing some of the best of the region’s talent.

Highlights include the UK Premiere of Moving Sounds a live music and dance show from Reuben Chi (Netherlands), and Folk Dance Remixed (UK) offering audiences the opportunity to join in a Maypole dance and ceilidh. Simple Cypher (UK), who was hugely popular in BIDF 2018, present their latest work Roll Play, blurring the boundaries between hip-hop and circus.

From 8 – 11 June Midlands Made returns with local professional artists taking over the Centenary Square stage. BIDF 2020 is working with regional partners including Birmingham Dance Network and Sampad to programme four themed days covering Contemporary, Hip-Hop, African-Caribbean and South Asian styles.

The second weekend, 12 – 14 June, will see a mix of UK and international talent showcasing the best of outdoor dance work.  From the UK, companies include Extended Play2Faced Dance and the UK Premiere of Humanhood’s new work Sphera.  Internationally the festival will present two UK Premieres from Foco alAire (Mexico) and Company Furinkai (France) who present Mind the Gap a mesmerising tour de force as dancers balance precariously on a constantly morphing unstable structure. Other highlights are Conseqüències by Cia Moveo (Spain), an ironic and joyful play on the possibility of being out of step, and Zum-Zum Theatre (Spain) with Hippos featuring charming, huge inflatable animals

BIDF 2020 is produced by DanceXchange and is funded by Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council with additional investment from Dance Hub Birmingham. The full programme will be announced in March. 

Birmingham International Dance Festival 2020 is part of an exhilarating month of dance festivals running throughout June 2020, celebrating Birmingham as a world-leading destination for dance.

Photo: Simple Cypher in Roll Play