Anniversary celebration brings dance spectacle to Arbroath

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THIS year’s 40th anniversary of Aberdeen International Youth Festival (AIYF) launches on Wednesday, August 1, and brings more than 100 performances to venues in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Arbroath, Moray and Edinburgh.

And Arbroath’s Webster Memorial Theatre will host a selection of shows starting with an International Dance Evening on Friday, August 3, at 7.30 p.m.

It will feature Bhola Eberiga of Nigeria, an ensemble whose colourful costumes and inventive dances tell varied stories to delight audiences worldwide.

Also taking part is The Shawbrook Dance School, a private school from Legan, County Longford, in Ireland, providing education for children aged five and over. It teaches the disciplines of classical, contemporary, ballet and jazz. The school has strong international ties and frequently welcomes professional dancers from around the world to provide workshops and classes. The show will consist of a mixture of classical and contemporary dance from ballet to jazz.

Westlake School for the Performing Arts and Linda Dobbins Dance, both dance groups from the USA, will also feature. Linda Dobbins Dance studio is based in Mountain Brook, Alabama, and was started in 1996. It provides intense training in many genres of dance such as ballet, modern, hip hop and cheerleading. They also provide other creative classes such as acting and vocalisation.

Many of the dancers trained by Linda Dobbins go on to careers in the field of dance working for Broadway productions. They have won innumerable awards and titles in the United States on both a national and regional level. Every dance piece that has been submitted to the festival has won at least one award.

This will be an eclectic evening of dance from some of AIYF’S most talented international dance troupes including traditional programmes with more contemporary dance pieces.

Also visiting the theatre, on Wednesday, August 8, will be Musica Iuvenalis String Orchestra from Slovakia. This chamber string orchestra is an innovative and exciting group which is returning to perform as part of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival following the critical acclaim of its last visit.

Stewart Aitken, chief executive officer and artistic director of the festival said: “The extended festival brings a fantastic selection of shows to venues outside of the city which means audiences further afield can sample a few of the best shows that this year’s festival has to offer.’

“Now a truly international event, with participants travelling from all four corners of the globe to take part, AIYF is also committed to supporting emerging talent from across Scotland and the rest of the UK.  In the last 40 years AIYF has hosted more than 25,000 young people from five continents, making it one of the biggest and most successful gatherings of youth talent held anywhere in the world and a platform for young performers everywhere.”

Tickets cost £8 and £5 concession and are available by calling 01241 435 800.