International Dance Festival Birmingham

The past month or so has been amazing and nuts in equal measure so here’s an attempt to get it all down and make sense of it. The first thing is that I’ve been out and about a heck of a lot. Part of this is to do with Created in Birmingham – I feel like I should be seeing the things I’m writing about.

So, the first thing was the International Dance Festival. Now, I’m no dance connoisseur. Far from it. I’d never been to see a professional dance performance so ‘Watch This Space’ was an incredible taster session. I’d heard stories in the days leading up to it about parkour, exploding cars and all sorts and made up my mind to check it out with my friend Lucy.

It was incredible. So good, in fact, that I went back to see it the following afternoon. I might’ve gone again the following evening if I hadn’t been at a BBQ. In terms of scale and ambition it was easily the biggest thing that I’d seen put on in such a public area in Birmingham (I missed Blast). It made me proud of the city, if you can believe.

Here’s my bit of video to give you a flavour of it if you missed out. I’ve got photos too and will dig them out at some point. Maybe.

In other news, I saw Bare Bones doing a kind of warm-up/preview while we were waiting for an announcement about Dance TV at the Hippodrome. It was ok, very up close and personal (a single row of chairs close to a square performance area) but I didn’t get it really. What I did get a sense of was the amount of physical effort involved in a dance performance.

The final thing I saw was Planet B-Boy, a documentary which followed the fortunes of several breakdancing teams heading for the Battle of the Year. We had the pampered US team who thought they could win by just showing up, the South Korean team who were so poor they all lived in the same two rooms, the little French kid with the reformed-racist mother and the Japanese guy doing it for his deceased father.

Luckily, the dancing was impressive as the emotional manipulation and it was also one of the funniest things I’d seen in ages. Catch it if you get the chance, although it’ll probably have to be on video.

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.

One reply on “International Dance Festival Birmingham”

  1. Watch This Space was fantastic – Hofesh Scechter is a genius. I also really enjoyed the dancing dummies in shop windows in On Display, very funny.

    I may be biased, but ACE dance and music really deserve a mention for their showing of SKIN at DanceXchange, which had the audience cheering. Re-touring in Autumn (

    Also, check out Big Dance 5-13 July ( National celebration of dance – loads of stuff going on in and around Birmingham.

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