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International Dance Festival Birmingham gets underway
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International Dance Festival Birmingham was officially opened on 19 April

A canal boat was the stage for the official launch of the International Dance Festival Birmingham.

It is now the second time the city has hosted the dance festival.

National and international stars are lined-up to perform at various theatre venues, open spaces and even in shopping centres across Birmingham and the wider region.

The International Dance Festival Birmingham runs from 19 April to 15 May 2010.

Champagne launch

David Massingham, co-director of the festival, officially opened the event by smashing a bottle of champagne over a canal boat, before dancers performed the first dance of the festival - Dancing the Waterways.

David Massingham, festival co-artistic director
David Massingham, festival co-artistic director

Lindsay Doyle, BBC Midlands Today Arts Correspondent said: "Birmingham is going to be the city that doesn't stand still for the next month, with dancers from 20 countries and over 100 performances in theatres, on the street, in the shops.

"This will bring more than 5 million pounds worth of revenue into the city and will give us the chance to see dancers of world renown."

Although performances are now underway, the first major show of the festival is the Mark Morris Dance Group which will be performed at the Hippodrome on Thursday 22 April.

Festival highlights

Birmingham-based choreographer Rosie Kay tops the bill of local artists, with 5 Soldiers - The Body is the Frontline - a study of the effects of modern warfare on the human body.

Birmingham born Colin Dunne, nine times world Irish step dance champion and principal dancer in Riverdance (1995-1998) brings his first full length production to the city.

And BBC's Strictly Come Dancing professionals are booked for seven performances at the Hippodrome.

Although Midlands and British talent will be showcased, it's the international stars that will make sure this is truly an International Dance Festival.

World class performers

Ballet National De Cuba
Ballet National De Cuba is one of the international highlights

The festival organisers have been quick to highlight that all the international stars will still perform and are unaffected by air traffic restrictions due to the Icelandic volcano.

As well as the Mark Morris Dance Group, international highlights will be Carlos Acosta starring in Magic of the Dance with Ballet Nacional De Cuba, 17 monks from the original Shaolin Temple in China who will be sharing their Buddhist spirituality in an awe-inspiring display of dance and athleticism and Australia's Circa - the performance that challenges the premise that dance and circuses inhabit different worlds.

BBC WM is the official media partner for the International Dance Festival Birmingham, and the BBC Birmingham website will have additional features and photo galleries throughout the event.

In pictures

See our picture gallery of the official opening and the first performance of the festival.

Cultural activities

The International Dance Festival is one of a number of cultural activities taking place in Birmingham during the coming months including St George's Day and Vaisakhi events.

Birmingham has made it to the final four cities hoping to become the first UK City of Culture in 2013.

For 24 hours from 12 noon on Friday, 23 April 2010 the Council wants to record what cultural activities people are up to.

If you want to get involved, you can find out more at Birmingham Big City Culture website.





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