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UK festival celebrating French contemporary dance launches

(La) Horde performing at the launch of FranceDance UK at the Institut Français. Photo: Elliott Franks
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A new four-month festival billed as the biggest celebration of French contemporary dance in the UK has been launched.

FranceDance UK, presented by the Institut Français in London, will feature 50 performances and take place at 16 festivals and theatres across nine UK cities.

The event, which has Carlos Acosta as its honorary patron, aims to “strengthen Franco-British relationships and encourage cultural collaboration”.

Partner venues and festivals include Sadler’s Wells, the Southbank Centre, Dance Umbrella and the Royal Opera House in London, Belfast International Arts Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and Nottdance Festival in Nottingham.

FranceDance UK, which is also supported by the British Council. runs from August 8 to November 12.

Highlights include the first UK performance of dance collective (La) Horde, best known for their collaboration with pop artist Chris, formerly known as Christine and the Queens.

(La) Horde will bring their production To Da Bone to Sadler’s Wells and the Belfast International Arts Festival.

There will also be first-time UK performances from British-Rwandan choreographer Dorothée Munyaneza, whose piece Unwanted gives a voice to the women victims of rape during the Rwandan genocide, Franco-Austrian artist and choreographer Gisèle Vienne and trapeze artist Chloé Moglia.

Emanuel Gat has created a new work, The Circle, for Scottish Dance Theatre, which will be performed in Tramway, Glasgow as part of Dance International Glasgow.

Other artists featuring in the festival include Ousmane Sy, Thomas Lebrun, Serge Aimé Coulibaly, François Chaignaud, Ballet Preljocaj and Jennifer Lacey.

FranceDance UK will also include masterclasses and outreach projects in the nine participating cities.

Acosta said: ““With a rich programme honouring diversity and women choreographers, FranceDance UK is bringing contemporary dance to international audiences.

“More than ever, collaboration between countries is essential to promote artistic expression and create long-term alliances between international institutions and artists.”

Director of Institut Français, Claudine Ripert-Landler, added: “The festival is a brilliant springboard for French artists to build relationships with UK institutions and reach new audiences. I hope this is just a stepping-stone to closer cultural dialogue between our great nations, and that it will inspire many more performances and collaborations to come.”

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