Australian couple to fly 10,500 miles to attend Billingham International Folklore Festival
An Australian couple are preparing to travel thousands of miles across the globe to attend an international dance festival in Tees Valley.
Steve and Galina Wardrop, from Port Macquarie, a coastal town, 450km north of Sydney, will travel 10,500 miles to see the 52nd Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance next month.
Galina who has been a dance instructor for 16 years, teaching dances including Raqs Sharqi and Street Latin, said her dance background has given her a keen interest in the festival which runs from August 13 to 20.
The festival supported by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and Arts Council England, welcomes performers and dance companies from as far afield as Chile, Egypt, South Korea, as well as the UK.
Originally from London, Galina, 55, said she is looking forward to seeing the Egyptian Folklore Group, the North Cyprus Ensemble, and the Russian Ensemble “Miras”.
She said: “It will be a wonderful opportunity to see so many talented dancers, from such an array of interesting countries.
“As a dancer myself, I’m always inspired by watching performers who wear their heart on their sleeve, and who translate their heritage and culture into their dancing on stage.”
The couple who have been married seven years, set off on their journey on Monday which will take them to Thailand on the way to Turkey, where they will visit Galina’s daughter in Fethiye.
They will then board a plane to the UK, to visit Galina’s parents in Eastbourne, before the couple venture north for the Edinburgh Tattoo, and then travel to Billingham, where they will stay in Middlesbrough during the Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance.
Then on the way home, they will return to Turkey, enjoy a stay in the Greek Islands, and finally spend time in Koh Samui, Thailand.
Steve, 65, a real estate agent from Sydney, said: “We are really looking forward to visiting Billingham on our holidays, as we aim to add a splash of culture during our stay in the North East of England.
“As well as creating fond memories and making some new friendships along the way.”
The festival will feature a traditional welcoming parade, performances, a festival arena, workshops and fireworks throughout the week-long showcase.
Olga Maloney, Artistic Director, of Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance, said: “We are humbled by the support and belief in the Festival shown by Galina and Steve.
“It shows that faith hasn’t waned from people around the world, even after fifty-two years since the very first event.”