Happy International Dance Day! To celebrate, we’ve pulled together an A to Z of all things dance at Birmingham Hippodrome!

A – Alvin Ailey   

Electric, mesmerizing, life-changing…once you’ve experienced the magnetic pull of Alvin Ailey American dance theatre, you never quite forget it!

Born from humble beginnings on 92nd Street, New York City in 1958, the pioneering ‘Alvin Ailey’ and his company helped change perceptions of American dance forever through a bold and uncompromising repertoire celebrating the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience.

Now seen by over 25 million people worldwide at theatres in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents including Birmingham Hippodrome, Alvin Ailey’s incredible live performances border upon spiritual experiences, attracting lively standing ovations night after night wherever they perform!

B – Baby Bhangra

Bhangra boogie for little ones and their grown-ups too! On Tuesdays from 10.30am our foyers come alive with sounds of Bollywood led by artist and children’s entertainer Sohan Kailey. At these fun sessions children aged 1-5 years can wiggle, giggle and have a good old dance.

C – Curtain Raisers

Our successful Curtain Raiser dance programme is now in its 9th year and features dance students from regional academies and colleges. We work with children to develop a unique dance piece to be performed before some of our top-selling dance shows and festivals. Recently 20 dancers worked with Re:Bourne, the charitable arm of New Adventures, to create a piece for Sir Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella. Look out for the next Curtain Raiser taking place at B-Side Hip-Hop Festival.

D – Dance Hub

There’s no denying it – Birmingham is a city on the move!

Whether championing home-grown talent at the Commonwealth Games Handover, bringing live dance art to the streets as part of Birmingham Weekender or providing training opportunities for the next generation of young dance talent, Birmingham’s reputation as a home for world-class dance continues to go from strength to strength.

And the excitement just keeps on growing….literally! Earlier this year, plans were announced to develop a new rooftop extension at the Hippodrome above Birmingham Royal Ballet, leading to an additional 675 sq metres of floor space.

The new extension will provide more facilities and jobs locally for dancers and will comprise of a new large studio, changing facilities, office space, a reception area and two meeting rooms!

E – Elmhurst Ballet School 

Based in Edgbaston, Elmhurst Ballet School has a longstanding reputation for nurturing the next generation of young ballet talent. Among the schools’ glittering CV of former pupils include Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Lewis Turner, Rosanna Ely and James Barton as well as New Adventures’ principal dancer Ashley Shaw, who was last seen playing Cinderella in Sir Matthew Bourne’s wartime adaptation of the classic fairy-tale in February 2018.

F – Elements of Freestyle

An explosion of sports, music, dance and theatre, Elements of Freestyle offers an entirely fresh look at urban arts, bringing together breakdance, inline skating, skateboarding, freerunning, BMX, and even freestyle basketball in one high-octane physical performance!

Oh and did we mention you can catch Elements of Freestyle alongside over (100) acts from around the world as part of Birmingham International Dance Festival from 1-24 June 2018?

G – Sylvie Guillem

A milestone moment for dance fans around the world, international icon Sylvie Guillem made Hippodrome history back in 2015 by choosing to stage her last ever professional appearance on our stage in ‘Life in Progress’.

Born in Paris in 1965, Sylvie’s incredible career as a dancer saw her perform with some of world’s leading companies including The Royal Ballet, Kirov, Tokyo Ballet, Australian Ballet and La Scala.

H – Hip-Hop

Hip-Hop is a subculture developed in the Bronx in New York City. B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival is a celebration of all things Hip-Hop and takes place in and around Birmingham Hippodrome and the Southside streets featuring world-renowned artists. The jam-packed programme of explosive dance battles and creative workshops kicks off on Wed 9 May. There’s something for everyone from graffiti workshops to poetry jams. Come down and compete in the dance battles or see who will be crowned the winner at Sunday’s finale.

I – Internationalism

From Alvin Ailey to Acosta Danza, British Ballet Columbia to the world’s finest breakdance talents, Birmingham Hippodrome has always been a hub for international creative talent. We’re also very proud to be part of Dance Consortium who help bring international acts to the UK.

Well – they say all the worlds’ a stage! And here at the Hippodrome, we like to think that we’re a stage for the very best in the world!

J – Jaivant Patel

We’re very proud to be a cultural hub for dancers across the Midlands, providing countless performance opportunities across our stages, squares, foyers and outdoor spaces through our expanding programme of outdoor festivals, foyer-takeovers, curtain raisers and more…

Having performed at last year’s Summer in Southside festival and as part of Dance Sampled in 2017, Jaivant Patel Dance are a regular visitor to the Hippodrome.

K – Rosie Kay

Fresh from her triumphant stint choreographing Birmingham’s epic 2022 Commonwealth Games Handover in Victoria Square, local talent and friend of the theatre Rosie Kay will make her Patrick Studio debut in 2018 with her supercharged dance show, MK Ultra.

Inspired by the bizarre realm of pop culture mind control conspiracies, this high-energy mash-up of dance, music and imagery arrives at Birmingham Hippodrome in October for a strictly limited run.

L – Lighthouse Young People’s Centre

Created for youth engagement in the local area The Lighthouse Young People’s Centre in Aston is fast becoming a hub for youth dance workshops. A short distance from Birmingham City Centre the modern youth club plays host to our Aerobreaks dance project. Together with Break Mission, we work with a range of students from our HEN (Hippodrome Education Network) schools, offering free weekly Hip-Hop classes on Thursdays.

M – Sir Matthew Bourne

Whether breaking new ground with Swan Lake, championing regional talent in Lord of the Flies or stirring the heart with the remarkable Red Shoes, Birmingham simply can’t get enough of Sir Matthew Bourne!

Hailed as one of the UKs most exciting and successful choreographers and directors, ‘bad boy of ballet’ Sir Matthew first shot to international fame with his openly erotic staging of Swan Lake, which saw the female corps-de-ballet replaced with a menacing male ensemble, shattering convention and taking the dance world by storm!

Now, 23 years on, you can witness the theatrical phenomenon re-invented for a new generation from 5 -18 Feb 2019.

N – The Nutcracker

As much a part of any Brummie Christmas as turkey, tinsel and a glass of gluwein in Victoria Square, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker has been casting its spell over festive audiences for over 27 magical years!

A festive tradition for countless families across the city, Peter Wright’s iconic production of The Nutcracker brings together gigantic sets, lavish costumes, a company of 60 dancers and a full orchestra in an enchanting celebration of classical ballet.

O – Opening Night

Did you know that Darcey Bussell made her Birmingham Hippodrome debut in the lead role of Nikiya and Gamzatti in La Bayadere here back in 1990 at just 20 years of age?

You can discover more incredible facts like these by consulting the Hippodrome Heritage website or discover the world behind the curtain at one of our Behind The Scenes tours!

P – Poppin’, Lockin and Breaking

Hip-Hop dance has been around since the early 1970s and although it began in New York City, dance crews that have perfected the art can been seen all over the world. We have a range of masterclasses taking place on Sun 13 May at B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival and you can book your place now.

Q – The Queen

When it comes to Patrons, they don’t come much grander than her Majesty the Queen, lead patron of our friends at partners at the Birmingham Royal Ballet since 1956.

R – Romeo and Juliet

Love at first dance, forbidden passions, dangerous secrets and star-crossed fates combine in this exhilarating classic ballet.

From the balcony scene’s ecstatic pas de deux, exploring love in all its soaring wonder, to the lovers’ heart-breaking ends, Romeo and Juliet is dance at its most poignant and beautiful.

S – Stomp

Shaking up the international dance scene since 1991, the unstoppable smash-hit Stomp is nothing short of a phenomenon.

As funny as it is fresh, as fast as it is furious, Stomp takes familiar objects like newspapers, bins, plastic bags and even the kitchen sink and uses them to create a universal language of rhythm and movement that’s playful, thrilling and exploding with energy.

But don’t take our word for it….experience it for yourself this Half Term!

T – Taj Express

Rhythmically blending explosive dance with the hits of India’s most iconic composers, Taj Express brings together the very best of Bollywood in one unforgettable stage show!

Choreographed by the sensational ‘Merchant’ sisters – Vaibhavi and Shruti, one of Bollywood’s best-loved franchises and featuring the music of Oscar® winner A.R Rahman, composer of Slumdog Millionaire, expect thumkas, hip-swivels, booty-shakes and shoulder-struts with plenty of vah-vah-vah voom this September!

U – Undiscovered Talent

Hitting our main stage at B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival will be many talented dancers yet to be discovered by the masses. Break dancing sensation Menno Van Gorp is a dancer with heart, explosive energy and the moves to match. Menno is an all-around B-Boy, making a living through shows, judging battles and teaching workshops. He has also delved into different aspects of dance, having also created shows for theatres.

V – Vamos Cuba  

Nothing sets our temperatures soaring quite like the sultry Latino beats and sun-kissed sounds of ‘Vamos Cuba’ – a sizzling co-production with Sadlers Wells which exploded onto our stage back in November 2016. We also partner with Sadler’s Wells and The Lowry through The Movement, as three of the country’s leading dance venues.

Set in the crazy chaos of Havana airport, where families are parted, lovers reunited and time flies when you’re having fun, Vamos Cuba captured the joy and vibrancy of Cuban life, bringing together salsa, rhumba, mambo and tango in one stunning show.

Adding a touch of Cuban-spice to the Saturday commute, here’s a little taste of the Vamos Cuba dancers in action at New Street Station where they surprised shoppers with a late afternoon Latino Takeover!

W – World Premieres

As well as playing host to some of the best-loved shows currently making their way across the UK, nothing excites us more than helping to create and to champion new work, whether on our stages or out in our community!

This year alone has seen us play host to the world-premiere of Aakash Odedra’s amnesty international award-winning dance work #JeSuis, welcome Canada’s leading dance-company Ballet BC on their first tour of the UK and provide a platform for some of the region’s finest homegrown talents in Rosie Kay, Seeta Patel, Sonia Sabri and Motionhouse, who visited the Main Stage for the first time with their ground-breaking dance-circus production of Charge in March.

X – Dance Xchange

First opened in 1994, DanceXchange prides itself on its commitment to promoting the best of UK and international dance. From artist development to advanced training opportunities, world-class productions to fun weekly workshops, Dance Xchange is at the very heart of Birmingham’s dance culture. Not only that, they are also responsible for producing the award winning BIDF (Birmingham International Dance Festival) which every two years sees our streets and squares come alive with a month of the best international dance and movement!

Y – Birmingham Year of Movement

With the national spotlight well and truly shining on Brum thanks to last month’s epic Commonwealth Games Handover ceremony, we can’t think of a better time to launch Birmingham’s Year of Movement 2018.

BYOM is a region-wide celebration of dance, sport and movement taking place across the city, giving even more people the chance to experience the transformative power of dance!

Z – Zoo Nation

Zoo Nation is a Hip-Hop dance company based in London and this summer we will be launching Birmingham’s first ever ZooNation Summer Intensive which will take place Mon 6 – Fri 10 Aug. During this week we will identify talent for ZooNations first Youth Company outside of London launching in September. To apply email: Saminabeckford@birminghamhippodrome.com