Shamel Pitts | TRIBE in BLACK HOLE
Image Credit: Adeboye Brothers
Maya Taylor, Jeremy Phipps and Cubs the Poet. 2022.
Image Credit: Stuart Hollis
Let's Dance International Frontiers
Let’s Dance International Frontiers (LDIF) is an annual dance festival launching each year on 29 April, International Dance Day. With dance at the heart, LDIF has become a forum for a wider debate around identity, representation and ownership. LDIF pushes boundaries with a creative programme that reflects the international nature of Leicester through performances, discussion seminars, masterclasses and an annual conference.
Over the last thirteen years, LDIF has presented over 280 artists and companies, including 69 UK premieres and 42 world premieres. LDIF has also fostered the work of emerging artists, through platforms such as Signatures, Autograph and the Black British Dance Platform in partnership with FABRIC. As of 2023, these platforms alone have nurtured over 102 new commissions, with many artists going on to have successful careers in the sector. Previous participating artists include Jamaal Burkmar, Cameron McKinney, Lanre Malaolu, Ella Mesma, Chad Taylor, Jessica Walker and Fubunation.
A key success and lasting legacy of LDIF are the conferences rooted in dance technique and practice from the African and African Caribbean Diaspora. Centring each year around a theme, the findings are subsequently published, becoming a valuable resource for students and researchers. The conferences focus on giving voice to the practitioner. Past contributors include Gladys M Francis, Hilary Brown, Kyle Abraham, Joan Myers Brown, Jackie Guy, Bob Ramdhanie, Chester Morrison, Thomas Talawa Prestø, Thomas DeFrantz, John Hunte, Makeda Thomas and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.
LDIF has become a trailblazer for international dance programming and commissioning in the UK, with many artists making their UK debut as part of the festival, before appearing at mainstream venues. Bessie award-winning Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion (USA) made their UK debut with Pavement as part of LDIF15, before its London debut in 2017 at Sadler’s Wells. LDIF16 brought leading dance ensemble Urban Bush Women (USA) to Leicester, returning three decades after their last performance in Leicester. PHILADANCO (USA) made their UK debut as part of LDIF17, nearly fifty years after their founding by Joan Myers Brown, one of America’s leading change-makers, providing training and opportunities for African American dancers. Germaine Acogny (Senegal) made her return to the UK with LDIF18 as her platform, showcasing Somewhere at the Beginning, a UK premiere, before appearing at London’s Southbank Centre. Maya Taylor (USA) also made her UK debuts as part of LDIF before making significant contributions as a movement director and choreographer, including working with Rosalía for the 2022 Latin Grammys, Solange Knowles, St Vincent, Calvin Klein, Burberry, MAC Cosmetics and Ivy Park.
LDIF+ is a programme of continued professional development, offering quality training in diverse dance techniques from around the world, taking place during LDIF and as satellite events. LDIF+ provides opportunities not widely available in the UK, with international practitioners presenting codified techniques rooted in the African and African Caribbean Diaspora that decentralise the EuroWestern gaze within the dance canon.
Save the Date: 29 April – 5 May 2024