Billingham Festival has received essential national funding that will enable it to deliver its education and performance programme for the next eighteen-months, and in turn employ local, national, and international artistes.
The Billingham International Folklore Festival, celebrating its 58th year, has been awarded an Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant funding to help present its forthcoming programme of work entitled “The Dance Of Time Quest”.
This will be a chance for the festival to engage with a number of different dance companies and community groups to produce a collection of projects. It looks to harness multi-cultural themes, represent diversity and work across a variety of locations.
Audiences will be able to reap immediate rewards as some of the funding will be used during this year’s Billingham International Folklore Festival commencing on 12 August.
The Dance of Time
The extended programme being nurtured for The Dance Of Time, inspired by the works of renowned artist Salvador Dali, will see BIFF produce challenging pieces for audiences, dancers and the lovers of performing arts to enjoy.
Olga Maloney, Artistic Director of Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance, said:
“We are overjoyed to have received the funding from Arts Council England to support our work here in the North East.
“As a festival that has been in people’s lives for nearly sixty-years it’s important that we move with the times and keep the work both current but also in keeping with the traditions of our creative foundations.
“This funding will allow us to continue our journey, make new acquaintances and give new and existing performers the chance to express themselves in front of live audiences. This is crucial for their own development but The Arts is so important to so many people as it provides wonderful opportunities of escapism.
“The work we’ll be producing will not only be for the stage but also for the classroom, as we always incorporate an elements of education in our programme that is delivered to local schools and community groups in the hope it inspires the dancers of the future.”
Jane Tarr, Director, North, Arts Council England, said:
“I am delighted we have been able to support Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance through our National Lottery Project Grant Funding. The festival does fantastic work in bringing world dance to the town centre and to audiences across the North East and I can’t wait to see the work they will produce this year around the theme of Salvador Dali.
“I also look forward to seeing the impact of their work in schools and inter-generational work in care homes across Billingham and Stockton. This is an exciting time for dance in the North East, and this educational programme will see not only local dancers from the region supported, but also dancers from across the globe. This funding has only been made possible through investment from the National Lottery so thanks is due to all National Lottery players.”
One of the dance companies BIFF will be looking to work with after the successful funding bid is Newcastle-based dance company, Eliot Smith Dance (ESD).
This will be the seventh time Eliot and his company have collaborated with the Tees Valley festival.
This time around ESD is excited to bring, BLOOM, a contemporary dance work performed by four dancers created by their longest serving dancer Yamit Salazar. The piece brings an international flavour as it takes inspiration from Colombia’s yearly ‘Festival of the Flowers’ and tells stories of strength, beauty and the diversity of people.
Alongside BLOOM there will be the creation of a new duet ‘Broken Wing’, commissioned by BIFF, supported by Arts Council England and is set to the rock band, Muse’s Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3 (Redemption).
The duet aims to convey that moment in time when a romantic couple delve into their broken past and embrace an unknown future.
ESD have been entertaining audiences for over 12-years, and in that time they have created a rich repertoire, consisting of more than 27 works. There relationship with BIFF is ideal as the company has worked closely during its projects with performers from Italy, Germany, France, Colombia, New Zealand, Spain, and Cyprus.
Eliot Smith, of Eliot Smith Dance, said: “The theme, Dance of Time, is something very personal to me as I am passionate about where dance and movement has come from over the generations.”
He adds: “BIFF contributes to the local and wider community of Billingham. The festival reaches to people who have joyful memories. I am conscious of the history of BIFF and is a fantastic platform for North East based dance companies to share their current dance endeavours.”
Audiences will be able to see the culmination of the collaboration between BIFF and Eliot Smith Dance during the Festival’s Gala performance on Friday 18 August at The Forum Theatre in Billingham.
In addition to performing ‘BLOOM’ and ‘Broken Wing’, there will be two curtain-raisers spotlighting the work ESD are to develop with local dancers and skaters inspired by Salvador Dali paintings and sculptures. ‘Melting Clock’ and ‘Butterflies’ are being devised as Dali imagined skaters as butterflies in a number of his paintings.
Also being featured in Friday’s Gala performance:
- Jenny and Ricardo Oria (Argentinian Tango dancers from Edinburgh)
- Rebecca Perez – a Flamenco Dancer from Durham. She will work with Yamit from ESD to re-create the scene from a famous photograph of Salvador Dali painting a canvas under the feet of Flamenco dancer.
- Devika Rao – a Yakshagama dancer from Balbir Singh Dance Company.
- Ballet Folklorico ‘Tupa Marka’ (Chile) will perform a special commission by BIFF entitled ‘Ode to Time’ inspired by a poem by famous Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda.
- Also local artist Jo Pickering will be doing some live on-stage painting of the dancers while they perform. A feat rarely seen in modern theatres.
- The show will also be accompanied by a number of stunning digital projections.
For further information about the works of Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance then please visit https://billinghamfestival.com
This article is based on a press release from Strictly Press