Thousands of people are expected at an international dance festival which starts this weekend.
The Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance will see troupes from Brazil, Chile, China, Mexico all perform in the town. They will be joined by representatives of the Philippines, Serbia, USA and Sicily.
Organisers expect the programme of events to attract more than the 10,000 visitors who turned up 12 months ago.
Stockton Borough Council has provided the core funding, Arts Council England have funded the contemporary elements of the programme, and Awards for All are supporting an initiative which will see dancers visit care homes in the area.
Most of the concerts and events will be held at the Festival Arena, in Billingham town centre, with others in Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt, Middlesbrough Theatre and Billingham Forum.
Among the highlights will be the Balbir Singh Dance Company (BSDC) whose dancers are selected from across the UK.
The festival is a spectacular display and celebration of dance from performers around the world and we hope this year will be our most successful yet.Olga Maloney
They will perform a mix of eclectic fusion of Indian classic dance and contemporary dance styles, on Wednesday, August 12, at 7.30pm,n Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt.
Artistic director of the festival, Olga Maloney, said: “Dance productions, which take their inspiration from multi-cultural roots, are always a joy to watch, but the BSDC dancers are just spectacular and are an excellent addition to our programme this year.”
Performers from Teesside dance school Tapshoes and Tutus are also taking part. Under the guidance of teacher Amy Cairney, the dancers aged between three and eleven will perform two routines.
Amy said: “As a young dancer I always wanted to be involved in the festival so to have the opportunity now with my young dancers is fantastic.”
Olga added: “As much as the festival is an international celebration of world dance, it’s also abut giving young dancers from the area the opportunity to perform on such a high profile stage and we’re delighed to have Tapshoes and Tutus involved.
For details, visit www.billinghamfestival.co.uk or call (01642) 553220.