Staff Reporter
PALMA will be “invaded” by 1'500 musicians, dancers and singers from 27 countries for the 11th World Folk Dance Festival which opens on March 29 and will continue until April 2.

The festival is held every two years and has been hosted by Palma since 1987. This was underlined at the presentation yesterday by Francisca Bennassar, the deputy mayor in charge of tourism. Dolça Mulet, head of the Council of Majorca's cultural department, said that the festival helped make Majorcan culture better known, while Eduardo Gamero, the director general of tourism promotion said that it helped the islands break way from their “sun and sand” image.

The festival will open with a parade through the centre of Palma by all the groups taking part. Each day, several of the groups will perform in different parts of the city, such as the Plaza Mayor, Plaza Cort, Olivar, Plaza España, the Borne and the Pueblo Español.

Appearing for the first time this year will be the Al Horreya Folk Troup of Egypt, and Yovel from Israel.
There will be 12 different groups from the Balearics as well as groups from other parts of Spain, Scotland, England, Wales, Canada, Bulgaria, Romania, Senegal, Cameroon, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, Finland, Mexico, Turkey, France, Portugal, Germany, Estonia, the Congo Republic.

The competition itself, which is optional, will be held in the Auditorium on the 30th and 31st. On April 1, there will be a special concert by Jean Paul Samputu and the Ingeli Troup in aid of Aspanob (the association of parents of children with cancer), tickets for which cost 12 euros. The last day of the festival will include an exhibition of dancing by all the groups in the Plaza Mayor, and a grand gala in which 15 trophies and cash prizes will be awarded to the winners. The cash prizes total 18'000 euros. This year, a web site has been set up with the programme of the festival, and which will allow the public to take part in the voting.

The jury will be presided by choreographer Ferdinand van Altena and will include music and dance teacher Verenice Strumia, folk dance specialist Geraldine Ryan, folklorist Nino Lauretta and the president of the Majorcan School of Music and Dance, Gabriel Frontera.

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