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Thrilling dance festival returns to Brum with two weeks of entertainment

Birmingham International Dance Festival is back!

With a thrilling FREE programme on your doorstep it’s the perfect way to celebrate the return of the arts into our lives.

The city’s signature festival, produced by Birmingham-based DanceXchange, runs from 21 September until 3 October, in theatres and outdoor spaces and following a hugely successful online festival in June, this autumn edition offers an imaginative and entertaining free live programme, shining a light on the region’s amazing dance offer, engaging communities and celebrating diversity and inclusivity. The programme will be BSL interpreted.

Taking place in locations across Birmingham including, Centenary Square, Digbeth, Midlands Arts Centre and Handsworth Park plus Birmingham Hippodrome and Patrick Studio, the full programme will invite audiences back into public places and spaces to enjoy amazing performances as well as welcoming audiences back into the city’s venues.

The festival will showcase some of the best contemporary outdoor performances, new commissions, a theatrical world premiere and innovative collaborations with visual and performance artists and there will be drop-on workshops and opportunities to join in the dance too.

DanceXchange has made sure that the festival is Covid safe, following all the relevant guidelines so it’s time to get out there and enjoy dance on your doorstep – even if it’s something you’ve never tried before, you won’t be disappointed.

Out of the Deep Blue is a family friendly show featuring a 4m high puppet.

Handsworth Park

The outdoor festival kicks off with a packed day at Handsworth Park on Saturday 25 September, opening with Autin Dance Theatre’s Out of the Deep Blue .

A visual spectacle featuring an amazing four-metre tall puppet operated by five world-class puppeteers and contemporary dancers, Out of the Deep Blue is a tale told in two parts – an interactive promenade and a physical theatre duet which transports you into another world, to tell a story about our own.

The show has been designed with children and family audiences in mind, and this magical story about the power of empathy and collaboration between these two beings – EKO the ancient sea giant and dispirited teenager Violet – speaks to the world at large

On Saturday afternoon, be amazed by the explosive tricks and artful dexterity of Simple Cypher’s newest outdoor production Roll Play .

Three performers blur the boundaries between hip hop and circus, using intricate moves and virtuosic agility to give a captivating, cheeky and effortlessly cool performance.

The programme also features two performances that have been developed in collaboration with communities in North West Birmingham.

Born to Protest by Just Us Dance Theatre; and Like Mercury by Houston Dance Collective and world champion beatboxer and musician Bellatrix.

Born to Protest is Hip-Hop dance theatre not to be missed, challenging presumptions of black male and female figures to reveals fragility, vulnerability and the constant battle to prove oneself. The show can also be seen at Midlands Arts Centre and Centenary Square. Like Mercury is a fascinating dance exploration of what it means to be a success in a challenging world..

Visit to see the full programme.

Frock is inspired by artistic director Lucy Bennett’s memories of the 80s in England as a young child.
Frock is inspired by artistic director Lucy Bennett’s memories of the 80s in England as a young child.

Midlands Arts Centre

Events at the Midlands Arts Centre run over the weekend of September 25-26, with highlights including a collective Augmented Reality (AR) experience made for five people to explore together, at the same time.

With connected tablet devices, the audience experiences a collection of short dance works inspired by the 2005 masterpiece zero degrees – a collaboration between Sadler’s Wells Associate artists Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Akram Khan and Nitin Sawhney, with sculptor Antony Gormley.

0AR invites you to explore, interact and move around an imaginary digital dance.

Stop Gap Theatre will present performances of Frock , a piece inspired by artistic director Lucy Bennett’s memories of the 80s in England as a young child.

Six striking dancers collide in this uplifting dance riot set to a brand new art-rock soundtrack by Hannah Miller and Oli Austin of Moulettes.

In this quirky new dance piece, watch playful observations of the yesteryears explode into a ‘punkish’ celebration of individuality and difference.

Visit to see the full programme.

Born to Protest by Just Us Dance Theatre is Hip Hop dance theatre at its best.
Born to Protest by Just Us Dance Theatre is Hip Hop dance theatre at its best.

Centenary Square

From Thursday 30 September to Sunday 3 October the festival takes over Centenary and Chamberlain Squares in the heart of the city centre, with a second chance to catch many of the shows from earlier in the festival plus some unique performances.

Highlights include on September 30 and October 1, sci fi dance show Future Cargo by Requardt & Rosenberg

Future Cargo is performed in a 40-foot haulage truck and, like all Requardt & Rosenberg’s shows, it delivers the delicate integrity of a deeply intimate experience within a large-scale dance spectacle.

On Friday evening October 1 a unique dance battle will take place with KRE8! 8 guest dancers will go head to head to the sound of a live band and a DJ. Who will win the KRE8! battle crown 2021?

Future Cargo offers sci fi spectacle in the latest outdoor work by Requardt & Rosenberg.
Future Cargo offers sci fi spectacle in the latest outdoor work by Requardt & Rosenberg.

Up My Street is an immersive, augmented reality, street art and performance trail that generates a digital layer of creative content on the real city streets.

The experience layers digital content on walls, allows users to use a phone like an aerosol can to create augmented reality street art together, and users can see digital dancers performing on the sides of buildings, all experienced through a smartphone and headphones. Up My Street presents themes around migration.

Visit to see the full programme.

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