NEWS: Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Image: Figure skaters, Mark Hanretty and Yebin Mok rehearsing for The Creative Spirit of John Curry by Malcolm Johnson

In the 1970s and 80s, John Curry represented the pinnacle of ice skating. The Birmingham-born skater held the coveted Olympic, World and European titles as well as winning Sports Personality of the Year with his athletic and creative routines that drew from both contemporary dance and ballet, including a breath-taking routine of Don Quixote at the Innsbruck Winter Olympics.

2019 would have marked the late skater’s 70th birthday, and Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance, which takes place between Saturday 10th-Sunday 18th August, is marking the occasion with a programme inspired by the skating legend.

Under the theme of Follow Your Dreams, the festival is bringing together dance companies from around the world – including from Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Slovakia, Georgia, Colombia, South Korea and India – to perform at venues across the area in an eight-day extravaganza.

While the festival kicks off with an Opening Gala Concert featuring all international dance companies on Saturday 10th, Curry’s legacy takes centre stage. On Tuesday 13th at Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt, UK-based Balbir Singh Dance Company help to present 1001 Dreams, which has been inspired by some of Curry’s key pieces including Sheherazade, New York, New York and the unfinished Firebird. Billingham’s Band Stand plays host to a Don Quixote flash mob on Wednesday 14th, while on Friday 16th-Saturday 17th Billingham Forum Ice Arena is the apt setting for The Creative Spirit of John Curry, which has attracted notable skaters from Dancing On Ice including Mark Hanretty, Vanessa Bauer and Nina Ulanova.

As the 55th edition of the festival continues to bring exhilarating dance from across the globe to the region, taking inspiration from Curry’s long-lasting effect on skating never seemed so apt.

Like this story? Share it!