So what is All of Birmingham is a Stage?

Rudolph Laban, the great dance and movement theorist, said

Movement is the life of space. Dead space does not exist, for there is neither space without movement nor movement without space. Movement is, so to speak, living architecture

Movement is the currency of cities and we want All of Birmingham is a Stage to involve the community in urban regeneration of spaces in the city and create that currency with us…

DanceXchange wants to work with communities to re-imagine outdoor and unusual spaces as places where celebration and performance can happen, help transform those places and bring about a series of performances involving different art forms in these newly created ‘stages’.

DanceXchange hopes to enable this place-making project to happen in each of the 10 Birmingham districts over time, beginning with 3 districts in 2015/16 – Ladywood, Hodge Hill and Perry Barr.

The project will provide innovative opportunities in arts and architecture, reaching the heart of communities and inspiring and empowering Birmingham residents to shape the city they live in.

DanceXchange plans to create the performance areas in partnership with local groups and the architecture and construction community across Birmingham. Looking ahead, International Dance Festival Birmingham (IDFB), which is co-produced by DanceXchange, will provide dance performance opportunities for communities to promote in their new stage spaces.

Arts organisations that receive revenue funding from Birmingham City Council are each partnered with a specific Birmingham District, through an Arts Champions scheme, this means that that there is a strong mechanism in place for working with communities across Birmingham and “join the dots” of the city.

The Culture Commissioning Service of Birmingham City Council is keen to support DanceXchange as we build a new partnership with students, residents and communities to generate a new concept of a stage, which might be flexible, virtual or designed for non-traditional spaces.

What has happened so far?

Over the last six months, students from Birmingham City University School of Architecture have developed designs in response to a brief about re-imagining urban spaces and challenging traditional notions of the term “stage”.

The first dance workshop they came to was with our associate artist Luca Silvistrini and the architecture students were amazed and amazing with what they did.

Students from Birmingham Ormiston Academy have also worked with myself and IDFB 2014 International Resident Artist Corey Baker to develop this evening’s performance using the “stage” prototype created by BCU students.

We chose Taylor’s Prototype because of its striking design, beautiful simplicity and the fact that it would be a very different raw material to the glass, metal and stone of Millennium Point.

We have used Millennium Point’s four themes-Work, Play, Live and Move as the stimulus for the ideas in the dance which reflect back into the way in which the dance is staged in the big open spaces and stairs of the building.

So we would like to show you the results of a short residency that have brought BCU, Millennium Point and BOA together and demonstrates just one possibility of how All Of Birmingham Is a Stage can become manifest in an unconventional space.

What happens next?

After this evening’s launch, the All of Birmingham is a Stage exhibition will remain at Millennium Point until Sunday before touring community centres and public spaces across the city with an accompanying series of consultation workshops. The tour will culminate during Love Architectureactivities co-ordinated by the West Midlands Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in June 2014. The purpose of the tour is to generate further interest in the project and help shape its future.

How can you get involved?

All of Birmingham is a Stage will only happen through partnerships. DanceXchange is looking for architects, community groups, construction companies, building suppliers, funders and others to come together to take this project forward.