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Folklore Festival of World Dance, 11th August - 19th August 2018

Dance Gateway is a contemporary dance platform, which features contemporary dance work, inspired by Multi-cultural roots

2017 Dance Gateway Concert will take place at St. Barnabas Church, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough on Wednesday, 16th August at 7.30 pm., under the festival 2017 Theme "On the Wings of a Dove"

Further information on performing dance companies will be available soon..

The Theme of Billingham Festival 2017

"On the Wings of a Dove"

“DAWN” - Kyrie Oda & Love Hellgren (Sweden/Japan)

DAWN takes its starting point in the deeds of Chiune Sugihara. He was a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania during the Second World War. Against orders, he issued transit visas to refugees. With an abstract movement language the audience is brought on a journey that touches feelings and events from this period, but that are equally current today.

Chiune found solidarity with humanity, rather than nation or ethnicity. DAWN holds onto the light in the darkness.

Idea and choreography: Kyrie Oda

Dancers: Kyrie Oda & Love Hellgren


Costume: Irmantas Uvenkova

Photography: Vaida Virbickaite

Funded by Tees Valley Dance

PREMIERE - “CHANT” - Eliot Smith Dance Company (UK)

CHANT is a contemporary dance duet inspired by Dr. Yuvel Noah Harari's - ‘Sapiens - A Brief History of Humankind’. It explores the time when the very first humans walked the earth. The dance brings us to the moment when first man and woman meet, sharing there love for each other. 

“On the Wings of a Dove”- Ballet Folklorico Tupa Marka (Chile)

On the Wings of a Dove - contemporary dance interpretation of cultural heritage pictures from around the World by Ballet Tupa Marka 

Festival Archives:

The Theme of Billingham Festival 2016

"Portrait of a Distant Land ... across the seas"

"Portrait of a Distant Land ... across the seas" is the Theme of Billingham Festival 2016, creating a framework for our Festival programme and weaving though all festival concerts and activities, portrayed through music, dance, spoken word, poetry and visual arts, culminating in specially choreographed Gala Performances, created by Ballet Folklorico Tupa Marka (Chile), which will involve all the festival participants.


Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance have commissioned Mexican sculptor, Carmen Avalos, to create World United by Dance, a unique sculpture representing dance cultures from every continent.

The Commission has been funded by Arts Council England and Stockton Borough Council with the support of private sponsors and donors.

The work will be installed at the base of an iconic landmark in Billingham Town Centre, ‘The Ramp’. This site will create multiple viewpoints of the sculpture for users of the spiral walkway, which links ground and top levels of the shopping centre. This spiral movement is reflected in the two-metre high bronze sculpture itself, with figures of dancers entwined in a spectacular upward movement.

Its creator, Carmen Avalos is an internationally renowned sculptor with current exhibitions in Mexico, Switzerland and New York. Her work has been displayed in over 100 solo and group exhibitions worldwide, and her distinctive, contemporary vision has been recognized through cultural awards and highly acclaimed public commissions.

Carmen Avalos is also a performer with a background in traditional singing and dance, having studied with the famous Mexican sculptor and choreographer, Rafael Zamarripa. She visited Billingham as a singer and dancer and her knowledge of the town and its people inspired her to create the World United by Dance Sculpture.

The Sculpture will be cast in Bronze by Powderhall Bronze Ltd in Edinburgh. The unveiling of the Sculpture will take place during the Festival on 17th August 2016 at 1pm in Billingham Town Centre.

Balbir Singh Dance Company has been commissioned to create a special dance piece for the Unveiling Ceremony of "World United by Dance" Sculpture. The Dance piece will involve the dancers and musicians of Balbir Singh Dance Company and dancers musicians of visiting dance companies.

"Cave of Hands" Commission

"Cava de los Manos"

The Cueva de las manos, or the Cave of Hands, is a series of caves that depicts paintings of hands.

The caves, which are located in Santa Cruz, Argentina, are thought to have been painted by ancestors of the Tehuelche people. The art dates from 13,000 to 9,000 years ago, and look like stencils of hands.

The painters used their right hands to blow ink through bone pipes, which accounts for the mostly left hands you'll see in the cave.

Two North East based choreographers Maria Mendahzadeh and Tertia Brigham have been commissioned to work with Billingham inclusive Respect Theatre to create a dance piece inspired by "Cave of Hands", which will be performed at the family Concert on Sunday, 14th August 2016 at the Festival Arena at 4 pm.


Screen-Dance-Art Installation

A screen-dance installation collaboration project between Billingham International Folklore festival of World Dance and Teesside University, School of Arts and Media, Dance Module, directed by Jessica Smith, international choreographer and videographer.

‘Netotiloz’ (Nahuatl (Aztec language) word meaning ‘There will be dance’). Project is based on seven contemporary paintings by Mexican artist Carmen Avalos, and involves contemporary dance interpretations of the paintings by Teesside University dance students, BA(Hons).

The installation feature the screen-dance together with the artist’s paintings.

In February 2016 NETOTILOZ has toured Mexico and was presented at various museums in different cities of Mexico. In each of the museums the screening of NETOTILOZ was preceeded by a dance interpretation, created by local dancers.

One of the interpretation of NETOTILOZ by Ballet La Grana de Autlan will be presented at our festival 2016 at the Dance Gateway Concert on Monday, 15th August at the Festival Arena at 8 pm

The Theme of Billingham Festival 2015

"Dos Plumas al Viento"

"Two Feathers in the Wind"

“Dos Plumas al Viento” -“Two Feathers in the Wind” is the Theme of Billingham Festival 2015, creating a framework for our Festival programme and weaving though all festival concerts and activities. 

Two feathers flown by the wind around the World, their journey portrayed through music, dance, spoken word, poetry and visual arts.

Each festival concert and event will become part of the Theme, telling a new Chapter of the Story of “Dos Plumas al Viento”, culminating in specially choreographed Gala Performances, which will involve all the festival participants.

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Poetry in Motion Commission 2014

To celebrate our 50th Anniversary, Billingham Festival has commissioned professional cross art production company ZENDEH to create a series of “Poetry in Motion” pieces, based on the poems from each country participating in our festival this year, funded by Arts Council England.

Each participating group will choose a poem from their own country, which is dedicated to friendship, world, love and peace and record a video.

A professional contemporary choreographer/dancer will then create several dance pieces portraying each of the poems through dance to music and reading of the poems by international performers.

"Poetry in Motion" commission then be presented on stage at the two Gala Festival Nights at Middlesbrough Theatre on Thursday, 14th August and at the Forum Theatre, Billingham on Friday, 15th August.

ZENDEH will also spend a week working with Children of Billingham South Community Primary School to create poems connected to participating countries. The poems will be also presnetd by children on stage at the Fareweel Gala at Festival Arena on Saturday, 16th August

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