A riot of colour

Dancers from Mexico will return to Billingham after proving a hit at previous festivals
Dancers from Mexico will return to Billingham after proving a hit at previous festivals

A COLOURFUL spectacle of music, dance and culture from all over the world will burst into life this weekend.

The 49th Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance starts on Saturday when hundreds of performers will take part in a parade and curtain raising opening concert.

The eight-day event, organised entirely by volunteers, has been made possible thanks to a National Lottery grant through Arts Council England.

Traditional groups from 10 different countries will descend on the town, including Mexico, Egypt, Macedonia, Peru, Spain, Taiwan, and the USA.

The UK will also be well represented welcoming groups such as The Lock In dance show, Birmingham’s Sonia Sabri Indian dance company and , closer to home, the Newton Aycliffe Pipe Band.

There will be numerous workshops and concerts taking place at venues across Billingham, Middlesbrough and Dance City in Newcastle. Many are free.

Olga Maloney, the artistic director of Billingham festival said: “In 2014 the Billingham festival will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary and by introducing new contemporary styles and artists into the festival programme we are hoping to gradually create a reputation for our festival as a place to be for all the dance professionals, choreographers and dancers, who can enjoy the creative platform for joint artistic work and professional development, which our festival provides, be inspired by multi-cultural artistic dialogue opportunities and the variety and combination of all the diverse dance styles and genres.”

Saturday’s Parade of Nations takes place at 1.45pm from Northfield School, Marsh House Avenue followed by the opening ceremony at the festival arena at 2.30pm and will feature all international dance companies.

For the full programme of events go to www.billinghamfestival.co.uk

Concert tickets can be booked by calling the box office on (01642) 553220.