The sixth edition of Birmingham International Dance Festival 2018 (BIDF 2018) saw the sun shine and the city dance! Audiences were treated to an amazing 205 performances by 338 artists in venues, streets and parks across the city. Kicking off with a dance-packed ten-day takeover of Victoria Square, in the heart of the city, the festival brought a first, with an exuberant glitter-filled morning rave. The square hosted a celebration of exceptional young community talent with enthusiastic crowds of all ages taking part in a feast of workshops from swing, disco, northern soul, house, voguing and waacking, to hula hooping majorettes and Moseley Folk’s incredible ceilidh. Artists from across the world delighted visitors with free performances of high octane hip hop dance, daring Cyr wheel feats, tender duets and gravity defying acrobatics. Not forgetting the unstoppable inflatable pink men who playfully, sprung, floated and bounced from Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery to the famous Bull, bringing smiles to the faces of surprised shoppers. The outdoor programme also featured the region’s best professional dancers, performers and choreographers in a brand new showcase, Midlands Made, which included Festival commissions from Mickael ‘Marso’ Riviere and Rebecca Randall. The festival was excited to be able to take dance to communities beyond the city centre with a fabulous family weekend at Midlands Arts Centre in Cannon Hill Park and performances delighting young patients at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The stunning Origami, a shape-shifting shipping container and solitary dancer, also thrilled audiences at Eastside Park, Birmingham City Football Club and Tesco Superstore in Witton. BIDF’s theatre programme was inspired by themes of the imagination, body, mindfulness and digital art, with the ambition to present new and engaging choreography. At mac, children became Icelandic sheep, and perceptions of dance and disability were actively challenged; in the Patrick Studio, DanceXchange’s space for experimental choreography, audiences were invited to interact with computer generated dancers in a virtual reality world, and were immersed in an audio visual experience of sculpted light. At Birmingham Repertory Theatre a huge community cast took to the stage, while at Birmingham Hippodrome virtuoso performers of urban arts, such as inline skating, breakdancing, freerunning, and BMX, displayed breathtaking artistry on an imaginative set of moving ramps. Companies and artists included Company Wayne McGregor, Candoco Dance Company, Rui Horta, Kallo Collective, Birmingham Royal Ballet, James Batchelor, Cecilia Bengolea and Florentina Holzinger and Vera Ondrasikova, to name but a few. Lucie Mirkova and Paul Russ, Artistic Directors BIDF18 said: “What an amazing three weeks it has been! We’ve seen and experienced and joined in with dance in all parts of the city and with everyone, from those who have never danced before, to those at the top of their profession." BIDF producers, DanceXchange is already shaping its plans for the next festival in 2020 and is keen to talk to artists, communities and businesses who would like to be involved. Keep up to-date with dance across the city via www.dancexchange.co.uk