A world of music and dance lights up the town
A RIOT of colour and dance passed through a town centre to mark the opening of the 53rd Billingham International Folklore Festival.
The annual festival kicked off on Saturday with the Parade of Nations in which dancers from around the globe wear traditional dress and perform traditional dance as they parade through the streets of Billingham.
Hundreds lined the route, or watched from Billingham Town Centre’s raised walkways, as the parade made its way towards the Festival Arena, which will be the focus of dance and festivities for the next week.
Dancers from as far afield as Chile, Ghana and Hungary joined the spectacle which got under way half an hour later than expected due to sporadic showers.
The festival has been a part of the annual calendar in Billingham for more than 50 years and features parades, songs and performances, exhibitions and workshops from dance companies around the world. Children’s clubs and dance workshops were also taking place throughout the week.
Venues around Billingham include the festival arena in the town centre, the Forum and Billingham bandstand.
There will also be a performance at St Barnabas Church, Linthorpe.
There will be performances and concerts every day until the festival closes on Sunday with an ice-skating, dance and music spectacular - Peacock Lake at the Forum Ice Arena.
A modern take on Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet Swan Lake, Peacock Lake gets its world premiere at the festival and promises “ice meets spice”.
Performers from 14 countries, including the UK, are taking part, bringing traditional dance styles and much more from the likes of Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Hungary, New Zealand, South Africa and more. For the first time, dance groups from Tahiti and Guinea-Bissau are taking part.
Some performances are free, others require tickets which vary in price from £1 to £18. Visit www.billinghamfestival. co.uk for details.
The event brings a riot of colour to the town
The week includes many eye-catching performances
Performers come from around the world
Crowds enjoying the festival