XTRAX Artist Spotlight: Birmingham International Dance Festival

Welcome to the July XTRAX Artist Spotlight. A new platform to showcase brilliant Outdoor Art.

Each month our team are connecting with festival promoters and programmers to share their selection of UK and International outdoor artists they have been working with recently and give some insight into their programming choices.

This month we caught up with Lucie Mirkova Curator of Birmingham International Dance Festival 2020 (BIDF) and Programme Officer for Performance & Artist Development Helen Lound, who gave us an insight into what was planned for their 2020 programme and their pick of artists to keep your eye on over the next year.

They told us:

“BIDF is a major UK biennial festival which brings incredible choreography to the city. The festival takes over Birmingham’s theatres, streets and squares, with show-stopping free performances and opportunities to get the public dancing. The outdoor programme for 2020 was ambitious, including the development of a new showcasing platform for UK and international dance artists who are working in outdoor settings.

Innovative choreography that pushes the boundaries of dance performance is the centre of our programme. From small, intimate shows to large-scale spectacles, we strive to delight our audiences with work that could broaden their horizons, challenging perceptions of what dance can look like and communicate.

We make unexpected experiences happen in the most ordinary places. We seek work that actively engages with audiences and breaks down boundaries between performers and spectators. It is important to us that we present work that is timely, political and asks big (and sometimes uncomfortable) questions.

We were excited about the promise of Future Cargo by the renowned Requardt & Rosenberg (UK). Placing an enormous shipping container in the middle of the city’s largest square…imagine a truck arrives from a distant planet, containing everything required to start over. Sci-fi, but pretty timely!

After the great success of Origami at BIDF 2018, we invited Company Furinakï (FR) to return with their new show Mind the Gap. The piece is centred around a complex wooden structure that the performers interact with in extraordinary ways. They bend, fall, and catch up with the structure as it gradually falls apart. It is an astonishing dance of bodies and material.

Born To Protest by Joseph Toonga (UK) was to be presented as a work in progress through our showcasing platform. Co-commissioned by Stomping Ground, this new Hip Hop Dance Theatre piece seeks to incite conversations around the perceptions of black men in public spaces. The work interrogates prejudices and dismantles the pressures experienced by the black community. A timely and important piece.

Jukebox by Jamaal Burkmar (UK) is an Artist in Residence at DanceXchange. His company Extended Play were due to present their latest piece Jukebox in the city centre, as well as tour across the outer regions of Birmingham. Using a real jukebox, audience members come up and choose a track that the performers have to dance to. The spectators become the decision-makers! With stunning choreography to popular songs from all eras – there is sure to be something for everyone when you hit that play button! (Read Jamaal’s blog about his latest project Jukebox and why he loves working outdoors here.)

LOS the ULTRAMAR by Foco Al Aire (MX) is a promenade piece that gradually emerges as if from nowhere. The performers move very slowly in striking costumes that are sure to surprise any passers-by. Spectators join the company in a procession, culminating in a shared dance that celebrates life, equality and differences. It is beautiful, yet powerful.”

Find out more about each of the artist selected this month below. 

Back to XTRAX Artist Spotlight