Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cast of Hundreds to Dazzle Festival with Their Varied Skills; A Spectacle of Dance, Ice Skating, Music, Costume and Japanese Drumming Takes Place in the Region This Weekend, and It's a World Premiere

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cast of Hundreds to Dazzle Festival with Their Varied Skills; A Spectacle of Dance, Ice Skating, Music, Costume and Japanese Drumming Takes Place in the Region This Weekend, and It's a World Premiere

Article excerpt

JOURNAL Culture Awards 2018 performing artist of the year finalist Eliot Smith is among those featuring in Ikebana, the Journey in Quest of Harmony.

It takes place today and tomorrow as part of the 54th Billingham International Folklore Festival - with Newcastle-based Eliot and his dancers playing key roles in the newly created piece.

Eliot is artistic director of Eliot Smith Dance (ESD), which has been at the forefront of contemporary dance since its founding in 2012, with the Duchess of Northumberland a patron.

Eliot and his dancers were invited to take part in what promises to be a spectacular performance - funded by Arts Council England - especially created by a nationally renowned creative team.

Eliot said: "The Billingham International Folklore Festival has supported Eliot Smith Dance in previous years as guest performers. This has enabled ESD to grow and engage with various artists and audiences.

"On behalf of everyone at ESD, we are delighted and excited to be returning to the 2018 Festival, as the talented ESD dancers, and myself, play a key role in the newly created piece Ikebana. It is very rewarding to have the opportunity to collaborate with such a diverse team".

Ikebana is the ancient art of Japanese flower-arranging, which is meant to promote spiritual and mental harmony. Ikebana, the Journey in Quest of Harmony, will be performed by 300 performers, including Mark Hanretty, champion ice skater who took part in ITV's Dancing on Ice earlier this year, who will be skating as well as performing dramatic aerial dance.

The performance will include specially commissioned music by Moony Wainwright and Japanese Taiko drumming, led by Japan's leading Taiko performer, Hiro Hayashida.

Eliot continued: ''The dancers will perform powerful yet simple movement, embodying the Ikebana theme for the Quest of Harmony. …

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