Dance Umbrella 2012
Dance Umbrella, London’s annual festival of dance from around the globe, returns in a new and different format for this year. The festival is also much shorter than before, running for just 10 days from 5-14 October. No-one is saying anything, but its hard not to see the festival's recent severe funding cut behind things.
Also gone for 2012 is the huge range of venues, from The Place to Sadler's Wells, to the Barbican, to... This year the festival will take place almost entirely at a single venue - the Platform Theatre at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, part of the sparkling new King’s Cross development.
Yet another new departure sees Artistic Director Betsy Gregory invite choreographer Jonathan Burrows to co-curate what is being described as a festival of "adventurous new work which broadens the definition of dance" and that "crosses many artistic boundaries." Dance Umbrella has always looked to the new, but that will, I'm sure, start alarm bells ringing for some.
Gregory and Burrows say that the works selected (but not yet announced) give an overview of what is happening internationally and will allow London audiences to "take the temperature of the moment". Most of the pieces are UK or European premieres. Although anchored by Burrows himself, the primary focus of the festival is on the work of a younger generation of artists from France, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Bulgaria, Ecuador, USA and UK.
There will be 24 theatre-based performances and seven days of site-based works over the festival's 10 days. Most days will see three performances presented in the two theatres at Central Saint Martins plus ‘speed talks’ in the foyer, video installations and exhibitions. In addition to the theatre-based pieces, two artists will present their work in the surrounding area, one outdoors and the other in a public library,
The full Dance Umbrella 2012 programme will be announced later this summer.