May 21, 2010 / 4:58 PM / 9 years ago

Copenhagen brewing up a song and dance festival

COPENHAGEN (Reuters Life!) - Over the next couple of weeks, a new dance and music festival will come to life in the gardens of Copenhagen’s Carlsberg Brewery.

At the center of the new Spring Dance festival will be the award-winning Danish Dance Theater — of which British-born Tim Rushton is artistic director — and an ambition to create a large international festival.

“Hopefully, within three years I will have developed a MAD festival, a music and dance festival, where I can invite some of these fantastic Nordic musicians and some of the best dancers in the world and make a cultural garden,” Rushton told Reuters.

Having the festival in what used to be the private garden of brewer, Carlsberg founder and art patron J.C. Jacobsen (1811-1887), is no coincidence.

Since brewery production was moved outside Copenhagen in 2008, the Valby site has become a mecca for modern dance in the Danish capital.

Danish Dance Theater has its administration and training studios at the old bottling plant, now called the hall of dance. The hall also provides training facilities for other contemporary dance companies and private ballet classes.

For Rushton, the idea of bringing contemporary dance into a historic context was also appealing.

“Modern dance and many other modern art forms are, not root-less or history-less, but their history is so young that it is important to borrow history, to borrow a story,” he said.

Rushton became artistic director of the Danish Dance Theater in 2001. The company, one of the foremost contemporary dance companies in Scandinavia, spends a lot of time abroad.

It has just returned from a trip to Boston and at the end of June, departs for performances in Finland, Russia and Poland.

Apart from dance and music, delivered by the PACE Percussion Trio, there will be a tour of the garden by landscape gardener Niels Hvass, Jacobsen’s great-great-grandson.

Many of the bushes and trees in the Carlsberg Garden were brought back to Denmark from Europe by J.C. Jacobsen. Some of those plants are now so rare that it is the only place in Northern Europe where they exist.

There will also be Pergola Talks, where various personalities from the worlds of art and politics will talk about art and culture, as well as children’s activities.

“The idea is to get modern dance and music out to the audience in an informal and less traditional way,” Rushton said.

Editing by Paul Casciato

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