Youngsters getting into the festival groove

The Northern Echo: DANCING QUEEN: Dancer Ella Mesma teaches urban latin dance to pupils at MacMillan Academy in Middlesbrough. DANCING QUEEN: Dancer Ella Mesma teaches urban latin dance to pupils at MacMillan Academy in Middlesbrough.

YOUNG dancers have been gearing up for the 50th Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance trying out some Latin dance moves.

A group of ten young people, aged 11 to 16 years old, of Macmillan Academy in Middlesbrough enjoyed an intensive workshop with Ella Mesma, Artistic Director of London and Leeds-based, Elements Arts Company (EAC).

They learnt a new dance form combining elements of Afro Cuban and Afro Brazilian whilst also experiencing specialist dance techniques, performance skills and created a community performance piece.

The dance class is part of the build up to the folklore festival, which is support by the Arts Council England’s grants for the arts programme, Stockton Borough Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The results of the exclusive workshops will form part of the wider Festival programme, when Ella and EAC return in August to perform in the International Concert being staged on Monday, August 11.

They will be premiering two unique dance pieces that have been especially commissioned by BIFF 2014 - Orixas and Birds of Paradise.

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