The annual dance festival, running from 6 October to 7 November, includes several big names, with Michael Clark (28 October–7 November), Mark Morris (27–31 October) and Cloud Gate Theatre of Taiwan (6–10 October) all appearing. However, most of the performers are less well known, while many of the recognisable names are performing at smaller venues.
Jiri Kylian is one such. The renowned one-time director of Nederlans Dans Theatre usually presents his work at venues like Sadler’s Wells, but for Dance Umbrella 2009 he is at The Place with Last Touch First (30–31 October) which explores the creative potential of older performers.
The Place also hosts debut performances by Wally Cardona & Rahel Vanmoos (13-14 October), and Vincent Dance Theatre, (16-17 October), while Wendy Houston is at Battersea Arts Centre (22-24 October, 5-7 November), and Raimund Hoghe is a Laban (5-6 November).
A festival focus this year is African (9–24 October), which spotlights new work by African dance artists from Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Congo and Kenya. There is also Common Dance, a new large-scale commission for Greenwich’s Borough Hall featuring 120 inter-generational performers aged 8 to 80 (29 October–1 November). There is an outdoor promenade performance, Bodies in Urban Spaces (16–18 October), where the audience is led from London Bridge through public spaces in a one-hour “body trail”. And, following his success in DU 2007, Canadian Paul-Andre Fortier performs a new duet Cabane (7–12 October) in several spaces from an office building to a car park.
Back in more conventional theatre space, Inbal Pinto & Avshallom Pollak Dance Company perform the UK debut of Hydra at the South Bank (18-19 October), followed by Shobana Jeyasingh who presents a double bill featuring a new work (21–22 October).