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photo: Philippe Weissbrodt

Cardiff Dance Festival is back again this November. Gundija Zanderzona has the preview.

Held biannually, the Cardiff Dance Festival has become an important part of the Welsh arts calendar. The colourful and carefully selected programme brings together artists from across Wales and the UK, as well as a great portion of international artists.

The festival aims to target a wide audience from passionate dance lovers and professionals to those completely new to the dance world, willing to enrich their cultural knowledge. The twelve-day-long programme includes ticketed performances as well as open studios and public spaces events and is spread over three venues – Dance House, Chapter Arts Centre and the Wales Millennium Centre.

There is plenty to choose from! Choreographies based on text or live music, installations, solo works and works that bring people together and encourage debate. You can also find performances suitable for all ages – everyone is welcome to participate and enjoy a share of dance!

Perhaps the most exciting piece to arrive at Cardiff Dance Festival this year is the international artistic collaboration Interruption, with support from Wales Arts International and the British Council. The project is a major part of the UK/India Year of Culture, bringing together artists from Basement 21 in Chennai, India, and our own Welsh artists. Drawing on both cultural traditions as well as various disciplines – amongst the primary collaborators one can find choreographers, visual artists, a saxophonist and a percussionist – Interruption hopes to provoke reflection on our relationship to geographic spaces. A three-week residency at Chapter Arts Centre will eventually culminate in a public performance in Cardiff city centre on Fri 17 Nov, with the aim of achieving, to an extent, what the title intends: an Interruption of a public space, cracking through the yawning repetition of an average day in a city street, with the possibility of sudden entertainment, annoyance or distractions.


photo: Philippe Weissbrodt

Also at the festival, Chapter will also play host to the fantastically-named Extremely Bad Dancing to Extremely French Music, which will presumably feature a great deal of extremely bad dancing to extremely French music; this collaboration between choreographer Karl Jay-Lewin and musician/composer Matteo Fargion has been earning plaudits since its inception in 2013.

Elsewhere, The Dance House will showcase Black Out, a visually arresting piece from Swiss choreographer Philippe Saire. Using a specially-constructed box which allows the audience to view the piece from above, Black Out places human bodies on a white background, with thousands of sand-like black granules dropping gradually around them, crafting patterns onto the canvas-floor, telling a story of darkness overtaking the light. It’s certain to be a highlight, and one that will live long in the memory.

The Cardiff Dance Festival is programmed by Chris Ricketts and project-managed by Fieldwork. Chris Ricketts said: “It’s great to be back with a second festival. We had a fantastic response in 2015 and, with the breadth of things taking place, this year’s programme feels even stronger and more international. It’s going to be a cracking twelve days discovering some wonderful dance from around the world.”

Cardiff Dance Festival 2017, with Chapter, National Dance Company Wales and Wales Millennium Centre as the main partners, is funded by the Arts Council of Wales. This year’s festival works closely also with the City of Cardiff Council, University of South Wales, Groundwork Pro and Migrations.

Various venues, Wed 8 Nov – Sun 19 Nov. Tickets: prices vary. Info:

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