A Whirl of Colour to Brighten Tough Times; Why Show Must Go on for Folklore Festival despite Cutbacks

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ORGANISERS of a world-famous Teesside folk festival have given a sneak preview of this year's spectacular.

The 48th Billingham Folklore Festival is scheduled take place from August 11 to 18.

Despite being hard hit by spending cuts, organisers Joe and Olga Maloney declared "the show must go on".

The selection of acts has been completed. They will include performers from Chile, Indonesia, Colombia, Guadeloupe, Russia, Romania, Martinique and North Cyprus - and a few surprises.

Some of the international groups are planning to showcase not just their traditional repertoire.

The group from Guadeloupe are planning breakdance moves combined with their traditional choreography.

And the group from Chile aim to delight with dances and Hakas from Easter Island.

Festival director Mr Maloney said: "Subject to our funding application, we are also negotiating with two contemporary dance companies based in the UK, who take their inspiration from African roots.

"One of the them, Keneish Dance, will showcase their triple-bill performance inspired by African Sculptures.

"In one of the pieces, which we plan to present at mima in Middlesbrough, they use a specially created sculpture in their dance. The other African dance company, Ballet Nimba, will present a variety of their national dances and music from traditional to contemporary, culminating in a performance of their new production, Salyama and Paypaya, based on African mythology.

"We are also looking at bringing a new dance show based on Irish roots, Threads by Keira Martin and Keira Dance, and Strictly Scottish by Corryvrechan, which will involve audience participation."

There are also plenty of activities planned for children and families.

All of the performers will offer workshops in music and dance.

"We have been negotiating with Billingham town centre management and will hopefully in 2012 be able to set up the festival arena back in the town centre, near the Forum," said Mr Maloney.

"We are also negotiating to have at least two concerts, including a gala night, in the Forum Theatre. …