Dance festival to honour Olympic skating legend John Curry is backed by Torvill and Dean

An ice skating legend is to be honoured at this summer’s Billingham folk festival with events backed by stars including Torvill and Dean.

Saturday, 13th July 2019, 6:00 am
Skaters Mark Hanretty, Yebin Mok and ballet dancer Erica Mulkern rehearsing for The Creative Spirit of John Curry. Photo credit – Malcolm Johnson.

Some of the leading names in the world of dance and figure skating are coming together at this year’s Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance to honour John Curry OBE.

Curry, who died in 1994, was an Olympic, World and European figure skating champion, who incorporated ballet and modern dance techniques into his stunning performances on the ice.

In what would have been his 70th birthday year, the Billingham festival will feature an eight-day show entitled The Creative Spirit of John Curry.

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Mark Hanretty and Yebin Mok rehearsing for The Creative Spirit of John Curry. Photo credit – Malcolm Johnson.

It will see performances from some of the sport’s biggest names including Mark Hanretty and Vanessa Bauer from ITV’s popular Dancing on Ice, and Russian skating star Nina Ulanova.

The show will have its red carpet world premiere at Billingham Forum Ice Arena on August 16 and 17 before moving to Sheffield.

Mark Hanretty said: “It’s so exciting to have a show to celebrate beautiful movement in the style of John Curry.

“John’s style is very revered but rarely explored and this is an amazing chance to pay homage to a stylisation that had shaped the future of skating for so many skaters!”

There will also be a 300-strong flash mob inspired by Curry’s famous Don Quixote in Billingham town centre during the festival, and a piece has been created titled 1001 Dreams drawing upon key works and influences of Curry.

Olga Maloney, festival artistic director, said: “We thought the legendary John Curry was a perfect match for our Festival with his trailblazing attitude, style and techniques.

“The theme of this year’s Festival is Follow Your Dreams and this ideally encompasses what we are aiming to encourage.”

The show has received the blessing of Curry’s family and close friends, and also has the support of British Olympic champions Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

They said: “John Curry inspires a generation of skaters and his legacy continues today.”

Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance runs from August 10-18.

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