What does Japanese flower arranging have to do with a World Premiere performance, famous ice skaters and Billingham?
This year, the 54th Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance sees the coming together of a nationally-renowned creative team and the local community to deliver an incredible world premiere performance of dance, music, famous ice skaters, dazzling aerial silks and singing.
‘Ikebana, the Journey in Quest of Harmony’, funded by Arts Council England, is a unique and beautiful performance that will literally transport the audience on a joyous journey of magic and imagination.
Ikebana is the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging that is said to promote mental peace and harmony and the performance’s concept is based on this increasingly popular art form.
And the creators behind the piece came together this weekend from across the UK to work with local choirs and singers, to develop the music that will form an integral part of the performance’s magic.
Olga Maloney, Artistic Director for Billingham International Folklore Festival, said: “Our special performance, ‘Ikebana, the Journey in Quest of Harmony’, promises to be a spectacular and unique experience for our audiences. Ikebana is the result of a collaboration between experts in the fields of dance, skating, choreography, music, and digital art and members of the local community and choirs and singers from across the North East. We will quite literally take the audience on a mysterious and intriguing journey from one venue to another, for Acts 1 and 2, in Billingham Forum Theatre and Billingham Forum Ice Arena respectively. It is an unmissable performance that is suitable for all the family’’.
ITV’s Dancing on Ice star, Mark Hanretty, who partnered with Donna Air in the TV show earlier this year, plays a leading role in Ikebana, skating as well as performing aerial dance – and he’ll be joining world ice skating stars, Gary Beacom, Zoe Jones, Chris Boyadji, Phil Harris, and YebinMok.
A fusion of art and sport, Ikebana will be presented by 300 international performers, world-class ice skaters, dancers from Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Mexico, France, Ukraine and the UK, actors, musicians, dramatic Japanese Taiko drummers and a large community cast.
‘Ikebana, the Journey in Quest of Harmony’ takes place at 19:30 each evening on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th August in Billingham.
Act 1 takes place at Billingham Forum Theatre and Act 2 takes place at Billingham Forum Ice Arena. The performance is suitable for all ages. Tickets are on sale now at www.billinghamfestival.co.uk/store or www.forumtheatrebillingham.co.uk.