The World in a Weekend

Published: 4 August 2021
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Lahing Kayumanggi Dance Company
I Am Not An Indian Dancer?
The Two Fridas Credit: Malkij Photography

For the past two years, the traditional annual Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance has been postponed due to funding problems and issues of COVID-19 but this year will see a scaled-down version, The Billingham Weekender—The World in a Weekend.

Due to international travel restrictions currently in place, the Festival programming team hasn't been able to book dance companies from all over the world as usual but has selected companies from the United Kingdom which specialise in a variety of global dance techniques.

The acts and countries being showcased include Lahing Kayumanggi Dance Company (The Philippines), Absolutely Legless (Ireland), Balbir Singh Dance Company (contemporary western dance and classical Indian Kathak),Talentos (Colombia), Discovery Highland Dancers (Scotland), Eliot Smith Dance Company (UK) performing I Am Not An Indian Dancer?, Kartveli (Georgia), An Iranian Lullaby by street dancer Bobak featuring Billingham dance-troupe Tapshoes & Tutus and Japanese Taiko Drummers.

The World in a Weekend, which is funded by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, will be staged at The Forum Theatre in Billingham on Friday 13, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 August. There will be both matinée (2:00) and evening (7:30) performances. Matinée tickets are £4 (children £2) and evening tickets £6 (children £3).

On Friday 13, the latest collaboration between the Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance and Balbir Singh Dance Company The Two Fridas, a dance-theatre production inspired by the life, times and work of iconic 20th century female artists Frida Kahlo (Mexico) and Amrita Sher-Gil (India/Hungary), will be performed at The Forum. This forms part of a North East summer tour taking in outdoor and indoor venues in July and August.

Tickets are priced at adults (£15), concessions (£12) and £6 (under 16s), and the show commences at 7:30PM.

There will be a mini parade around Billingham Town Centre in the run up to the Billingham Weekender on Saturday 14 at 1:00.

“People are craving a return to the theatre,” said Olga Maloney, Artistic Director of the Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance, “and we are putting on an event that the whole family can afford. The Festival team just wants to see big smiles back on to people's faces and what better way than enjoying the very best in international dance right here in Billingham?”

Full details of free taster informal performances in Billingham Town Centre as well as the Forum shows, including booking, can be found on the BIFF web site.