Let’s Dance International Frontiers, Leicester’s two-week annual dance festival which presents contemporary dance and ballet by local and international performers returns later this month, running April 29-May 12, 2018.
It’s unusual to have a festival that includes everything: conference, performance, workshops, films…. LDIF does just that. It’s small enough to feel friendly and welcoming but big enough to host important companies from overseas; often making their UK debuts.
As always, LDIF launches on International Dance Day, this year Sunday April 29, when highly acclaimed Zimbabwean dancer and performance artist Nora Chipaumire will present her new show, 100% POP, inspired by the legendary Grace Jones at the 2Funky Music Café, one of Leicester’s most popular live music venues.
LDIF has always embraced the cosmopolitan nature of Leicester and of dance itself by bringing diversity to the forefront while celebrating the work of dancers at all stages of their careers.
This year’s guests include the New York-based, Senegalese Germaine Acogny whose performances have been tagged powerful and formidable, and who will present the UK debut of Somewhere at the Beginning. Another UK premiere features San Francisco-based Antoine Hunter, the pioneering deaf dancer and choroegrapher whose Urban Jazz Dance Company consists of a mix of professional deaf and hearing dancers. Hunter will be joined by Zahna Simon; together they are the driving force behind Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival in San Francisco.
LDIF also promotes new work by emerging practitioners in the Signatures and Autograph programmes. The latter will include Leicester-trained Ella Mesma’s Papillon and Mac Daniel V. Palima’s Sekseneutraal.
Also at LDIF this year is Namron, founder of Namron Dance, who began his dance career with Willesden Jazz Ballet, one of London’s first community dance groups. He won a scholarship to the Rambert Ballet School in 1965 and as a founder member of London Contemporary Dance Theatre became the first black dancer to be employed by a British dance company. Namron will be giving a masterclass and will perform as part of Biography, a showcase for mature performers.
Film gets a spot in the programme with two documentaries screened in partnership with Phoenix Cinema. From The Streets to the Stage: The Journey of Fredrick Davis is the story of a ballet dancer who overcame tremendous odds to achieve his dreams of dancing on stages around the world. Through intimate conversations with Davis, his teachers, family and friends the film chronicles this very personal journey. Tango Negro, by Angolan filmmaker Dom Pedro, explores the expression of tango’s ‘Africanness’ and the contribution of African cultures in the creation of the tango.
Speakers at LDIF’s conference will feature LDIF patron Joan Myers Brown, Artistic Director of Philadanco Ballet Company in Philadelphia, USA, and L’Antoinette Stines (Jamaica), Bob Ramdhanie (Trinidad-UK), Barbara Ramos (Cuba), and Jeanguy Saintus (Haiti).
Pawlet Brookes, artistic director of Serendipity, producers of the festival, says, “In celebrating this year’s theme, Ancestral Voices: Dance Dialogues, LDIF18 will recognise and celebrate pioneers from the African and African/Caribbean diaspora who have shaped contemporary dance over the years. LDIF is a unique opportunity to see creative and innovative work from international trailblazers before anyone else! It introduces new audiences to dance and returning audiences to something they wouldn’t get anywhere else. We’re really looking forward to welcoming everyone to LDIF 2018!”