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Billingham International Folklore Festival provides splash of colour
A TOWN centre was transformed by a riot of colourful dancers at the launch of this year’s Billingham International Folklore Festival.
The line-up, which also includes parades, exhibitions and workshops, involves more than 300 performers from up to ten countries that will perform alongside talented North-East troupes.
The festival, which runs until Saturday, August 17, will showcase various dance styles inspired by world cultures including Royal Chinese, Latin American, Basque and Kathak, Chinese Martial Arts, Precision Clogging and Hip Hop.
Its opening ceremony was held on Saturday afternoon in Billingham town centre, following a parade from Northfield School, featuring all the international dancers involved.
Among the the performers are the Sonia Sabri Company from Birmingham who are showcasing their new production, Jugni, as well as Newton Aycliffe Pipe Band.
Other performers have travelled from as far afield as Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Taiwan and Macedonia.
Young dancers from Middlesbrough academies will also be taking part in this year’s event, now in its 49th year.
The young performers from Chandlers Ridge and Macmillan Academy spent a week working with the Sonia Sabri Company to create Indian dance-inspired performance pieces.
Macmillan Academy dance teacher, Luci Clapham, said: “The students absolutely loved the workshops.
“It was so inspiring for our young students who would love to dance at a high level to dance and work with Sonia Sabri Dance Company for the week."
The group from Chandlers Ridge Academy will be taking to the stage on Thursday, August 15, at 2pm when they perform their piece as a curtain raiser to Jugni, an explosive dance piece by the Sonia Sabri Company, in the festival arena, Billingham.
Middlesbrough Council Arts Development Officer Phil Douglas said: “We are exceptionally pleased to have worked alongside the Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance to bring such a unique opportunity to the all the young people involved in the dance residencies.”
Concerts take place at the Arena in Billingham town centre; the Forum Theatre, Billingham; Picture House, Billingham; the Arc, Stockton, Digital City, Middlesbrough; Middlesbrough Theatre, with special events scheduled at Middlesbrough Town Hall and Dance City, Newcastle.
The Billingham International Folklore Festival runs until Saturday, August 17. For a full performance schedule visit www.billinghamfestival.co.uk
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