International folklore festival opens with a bang as dancers and musicians perform from all around the world

The Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance opening parade proved to be a hit with visitors.

Sunday, 11th August 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Sunday, 11th August 2019, 4:58 pm
The annual Billingham International Folklore Festival of Dance started with an parade and opening ceremony in the town centre on Saturday. Pic Doug Moody Photography

The world came to the North East today when the 55th Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance opened with a Parade of Nations through the town centre, followed by performances from each of the participating countries.

Despite the horrendous weather forecast, the day remained relatively dry, although very breezy, and a short delay to proceedings due to a heavy shower did not dampen spirits as the international dancers and musicians took to the street, their fabulous costumes creating a riot of colour.

This year groups have come from China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Georgia, Slovakia, South Korea and UK/India.

The annual Billingham International Folklore Festival of Dance started with an parade and opening ceremony in the town centre on Saturday. 10-8-19 Pic Doug Moody Photography

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The Festival runs until Sunday, August 18, with daily performances in Billingham town centre.

There are also concerts at Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt and Arc Theatre, Stockton.

This year’s special flagship performance is the ice show ‘The Creative Spirit of John Curry’ in celebration of what would have been the Olympic Champion’s 70th birthday, which takes place at Billingham Forum Ice Rink on Friday, August 16 and Saturday, August 17.

To accompany The Creative Spirit of John Curry there will also be a movement flash mob inspired by Curry’s famous routine Don Quixote with the hope being over 300 people will dance the same steps in the centre of Billingham during the Festival (August 14).

The annual Billingham International Folklore Festival of Dance started with an parade and opening ceremony in the town centre on Saturday. Pic Doug Moody Photography

The festival programme, which runs from August 10-18, has been devised by Artistic Director Olga Maloney and Balbir Singh of Balbir Singh Dance Company.

The annual Billingham International Folklore Festival of Dance started with an parade and opening ceremony in the town centre on Saturday. Pic Doug Moody Photography
The annual Billingham International Folklore Festival of Dance started with an parade and opening ceremony in the town centre on Saturday. Diane Youdale AKA Jet from Gladiators meets some local dancers. Pic Doug Moody Photography
The annual Billingham International Folklore Festival of Dance started with an parade and opening ceremony in the town centre on Saturday. Pic Doug Moody Photography
The annual Billingham International Folklore Festival of Dance started with an parade and opening ceremony in the town centre on Saturday. Pic Doug Moody Photography
The annual Billingham International Folklore Festival of Dance started with an parade and opening ceremony in the town centre on Saturday. Pic Doug Moody Photography
The annual Billingham International Folklore Festival of Dance started with an parade and opening ceremony in the town centre on Saturday. South Korean dancers enjoy a coffee before the parade. Pic Doug Moody Photography