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After 55 years of entertaining the masses and inspiring generations of young and aspiring dancers Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance (BIFF) is changing, as organisers announce that, from this year, the festival will be taking a different approach and staged in its entirety every two years.

It’s hoped that the ‘one year on, one year off’ way of working will ensure the dancers and audience members are left wanting more with the non-festival year being used to nurture ideas in preparation for the festival.

“This is going to be an exciting opportunity to ensure that the Folklore Festival is around for another 55 years,” said artistic director, Olga Maloney. 

“We want this to be a refreshing way to rejuvenate a formula that has been at the heart of Billingham’s cultural calendar for over five decades.  We are celebrated the world over by dance companies and artists who recognise Billingham as being a global player in international dance.”

The new festival format will see BIFF gather creative influences in the form of one-off monthly events and community education showcases. These events will be a celebration of dance and what it means to the people of Billingham, young and old.

The first of the free BIFF community events takes place on Friday 21st February and is a double bill by Balbir Singh Dance Company at Preston Park Museum entitled Whistle Stop Tour of Folklore Dances from around the World (12pm) and An Introduction to Indian Classical Dance (2pm).

The next festival date is 7th to 15th August 2021 and a series of monthly events will be taking place throughout 2020. Details will be announced on www.billinghamfestival.co.uk.

Photo by Tom Banks

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