Dance theatre spectacular in the North East

The Two Fridas is motivated by one of the world’s most famous self-portraits. It is truly a dance theatre spectacular!
Image by Malcolm Johnson

This summer the North East will be staging one of the country’s most quaint and ambitious dance theatre stage shows of 2021. A seven-date tour hits the region inspired by the life, times and work of two of the art world’s most pioneering and prestigious artists. Don’t miss this dance theatre spectacular.

The Two Fridas in dance theatre spectacular

In July to August 2021, The Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance (BIFF) in collaboration with Balbir Singh Dance Company will bring The Two Fridas to the North East. Venues include Billingham, County Durham, Darlington, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, and Stockton-on-Tees.

The Two Fridas is motivated by one of the world’s most famous self-portraits [The Two Fridas by legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo]. This is being brought to life from the canvas to the stage through an intriguing mixture of storytelling, dance, music and live performance.

Sharing the spotlight with Frida Kahlo will be Hungarian-Indian avant-garde painter, Amrita Sher-gil. The elegant performance aims to immortalise two of the 20th Century’s true inspirational figures.

The show will also draw upon the tempestuous marital relationship between Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

The 50-minute socially distanced show is an explosion of cultural and heritage references. It pulls together emotional and imaginative elements from the eventful lives of both Kahlo and Sher-gil in a production which fuses together Classical Indian Dance, Western Contemporary Dance and Mexican Folk Dance.

The tour has been set up in reaction to the overwhelming response to a sell-out ‘World Premiere’ performance that was staged at The Bowes Museum in County Durham back in September 2020.

The Two Fridas is being supported by Arts Council England through its National Lottery Project Grants Programme.   

Dates and venues for the North East “The Two Fridas” Summer Tour:

Ushaw College Garden, County Durham (Saturday 10 July)

Darlington Town Centre, Market Square (Thursday 22 July)

Preston Park Museum, Stockton-on-Tees (July-Aug / TBC)

Albert Park, Middlesbrough (Saturday 7 August)

Tees Barrage International White Water Centre, Stockton-on-Tees (Sunday 8 August)

The Forum Theatre, Billingham (Friday 13 August) * (this will be staged indoors)

Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar (Sunday 22 August)

All of the ticket details can be found here.

Billingham International Festival of World Dance

Billingham International Festival of World Dance is one of the UK’s oldest and most respected dance festivals, with over five decades of experience entertaining audiences from across the globe.

Olga Maloney, Artistic Director of Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance, said:

“As we emerge from our cultural hiatus enforced by Covid-19 – we want to provide audiences with a delightful and beautiful display of dance theatre performance that people have been craving and imagining for the past 12-months.

“The ingredients of dance, theatre, storytelling, music and live art ensures that The Two Fridas will have something to whet the palette and appetites of people visiting our shows throughout the Summer.”

Balbir Singh of Yorkshire-based Balbir Singh Dance Company, said:

“This show represents how two women’s struggle to tackle adversity can be used as an inspiration for us all to deal with what life throws at us.”

To ensure the right authenticity and accuracy is achieved on stage The Two Fridas has brought in the skills of Manchester-based Mexican consultant, Magaly Flores – who runs a Mexican dance company ‘Colibri’.

Throughout the performance the audience will also be stimulated by a display of live painting that will be delivered by a different local painter connected to each individual venue. 

The Two Fridas promises to be a cultural highlight of Summer 2021.

BIFF would like to thank the following organisations for their assistance in helping to host The Two Fridas this Summer: Darlington Borough Council; Middlesbrough Council; Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council; Stockton Council; and the Canal & River Trust.

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