This summer, a Billingham-based dance company is preparing to share an international stage with celebrity superstars and performers from all over the world.
Tapshoes & Tutus is a community driven dance company who for the past 15-years has been teaching young people the wonders of Tap, and in August they will be representing the United Kingdom at this year’s Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance.
The group has a studio located on Grange Business Park in the Town and currently caters for over 100 dancers aged between 18-months through to 14-years.
“I think the festival is part of Billingham’s history and it brings fantastic opportunities to young people in the region, who are especially interested in dance and folklore,” said Amy Cairney, Principal Dance Instructor at Tapshoes & Tutus.
The young people will be wowing audiences by taking part in a special flash mob showcase called “Don Quixote” which is in tribute to Olympic figure skater, John Curry, who would’ve celebrated his 70th birthday in 2019. This year’s festival theme is dedicated to the legendary performer, whose energy and creative flare has inspired generations of performers since he lit up the world stage back in the 1970s.
Tapshoes & Tutus will be doing an acrobatic lyrical modern routine for “Don Quixote” to a mixture of songs related to childhood memories.
Amy added: “I would describe the Billingham Festival as being dynamic, colourful and community spirited. The children participate as they are proud to be part of my dance school and represent the UK on an international stage.
“We are honoured in the fact that young, local talented dancers are using Tapshoes & Tutus as a career springboard towards appearing with a host of national and worldwide companies and being associated with BIFF can only help develop and strengthen this pathway to success.”
The 55th Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance is being supported by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and Arts Council England through its National Lottery Project grant.
The international flavour will be created by dance companies visiting Tees Valley from Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Georgia, India, Slovakia and South Korea.
They will be joined by some of the biggest names in world ice dancing including Mark Hanretty, Vanessa Bauer and Nina Ulanova from ITV’s Dancing on Ice, who will be starring in the centrepiece “The Creative Spirit of John Curry” being staged at Billingham Forum Ice Arena.
Olga Maloney, artistic director of Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance, said: “It is our pleasure to welcome the young performers from Tapshoes & Tutus as they represent the future generation of dancers and it’s made even more special by Billingham being their stomping ground. For over five decades the festival has championed showcasing some of the best homegrown and international dance talent and this year in no different, with the defining premise being follow your dreams and hopefully these young dancers will do just that.”
The Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance runs from 10th until 18th of August 2019 with the various shows taking place in venues across Billingham, Middlesbrough and Stockton