Strictly ArtsFest

By on 14/09/2009 in News

Visitors to Birmingham's ArtsFest, the UK's biggest free arts festival, were treated to a ‘strictly-style’ ballet dance-off, with the Birmingham Royal Ballet doing Strictly Tchaikovsky in the finale to a day that attracted more than 140,000 people to sunny Birmingham on Saturday September 12.

Introduced by David Bintley CBE, BRB dazzled the crowds with three couples performing stunning duets from the much-loved ballets The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty.  The audience voted for their favourite through the use of a traditional “clapometer”, with Gaylene Cummerfield and Matthew Lawrence winning the popular vote with their Pas de Deux from Swan Lake.

The Classical Fantasia concert also included City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Opera Company performing excerpts from world-famous classics during a two hour spectacular,  conducted by Michael Seal.  The evening ended with a magnificent choreographed firework display set to Handel's celebratory “La Rejouissance” from Music for the Royal Fireworks.

The CBSO also performed a variety of classical greats and family favourites  such as Holst's Jupiter and Saturn from the Planets Suite, Bernstein's the Magnificent Seven and John Williams' classic - Star Wars Theme. 

Ronald Samm and Keel Watson from Birmingham Opera Company performed two arias from Verdi's Othello, followed by the beautiful Vesti La Giubba from I Pagliacci by Leoncavallo.

Cllr Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport & Culture said, “This evening's Classical Fantasia concert with the city's great arts organisations demonstrates what  ArtsFest is all about - bringing people together to share culture.  Birmingham is truly the culture capital of the UK.”

Hundreds more free events, activities and attractions will continue on Sunday, for the last day of the festival.

ArtsFest is the UK's biggest free arts festival and is organised by Birmingham City Council with support from sponsors, partners, arts organisations and volunteers.  For more information go to or contact the ArtsFest team on 0121 464 5678.


Media contact:

Emily Malcolm on 0121 303 8794 or 07766 923 352

Notes to Editor:

1     ArtsFest, now in its 12th year, has grown from strength to strength and is now one of the highlights of Birmingham City Council's annual events programme.  This unique festival last year attracted nearly a quarter of a million people to our city to see thousands of artists perform for free.

ArtsFest helps to make the arts accessible to all and to widen people's experiences of cultural activity.  With everything from street art to opera, cutting edge theatre installations to bhangra dance and plenty in between, the festival offers audiences a wealth of amazing opportunities to enjoy a huge range of artistic experiences for free.  The best of the region's emerging artists perform alongside internationally renowned companies, and many find it to be an unparalleled platform from which to launch and establish their artistic careers.

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