Belizean artists to participate in CARIFESTA

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Updated: August 19, 2015

Caribbean Festival of Arts, known as CARIFESTA, is an international multicultural event organized on a periodic basis by the countries of the Caribbean. The main purpose is to gather artists, musicians, authors, and to exhibit the folkloric and artistic manifestations of the Caribbean and Latin American region. Belize will be represented by a twenty one member delegation comprised of the Garifuna Collective, LyveArts Project Belize and Unique Belize Brand Artisans. Karen Vernon is the Head of Carifesta contingent.

Karen Vernon – Head of Carifesta delegation

“Carifesta takes place from the 21st to the 30th of August in Haiti. The contingent leaves tomorrow Thursday and it’s a 21 member contingent. We felt Garifuna Collective would be the ideal band to represent Belize seeing the huge success that they’ve had. Apart from that they are a very good band. The agreed to represent Belize in Carifesta so that was the first pick. We put together a dance group, we called Jamie and he was willing to jump on board and come to Belize to choreograph the dance. It’s a 20 minute dance item and that is going to be representing Belize in Carifesta in Haiti over the next ten days.”

Jamie Thompson, Artistic Director of LyveArts Project Belize told us how the project started as well as a piece that he is performing.

Jamie Thompson – Artistc Director, LyveArts Project Belize

This particular project started in the states because I do have a live arts project USA and I worked with a couple of my dancers over there to teach them the Belizean folklore and then sent in a video for the dancers to learn it so that was a different experience for them because they would normally have a teacher here so I challenged them by sending a video and when I came they had 95% of the material already learnt so I just came in on Friday and we’ve been working ten hours a day from Friday to today in getting the show ready. I used the same foundation that we have in Belize but I challenged them with a modern and contemporary approach. So you know in folklore it’s very competitive, very sequential we see the same thing over and over and we have a big smile so I challenged them at adding some different level of technical difficulty into it and they rose to the challenge so I’m extremely proud of them. The first piece that I did was Awasa Astrige which is a dance that was choreographed in 1932. I received permission from Dallas Black Dance Theater which is one of the five regional black companies in the USA and the movement is set to one of traditional songs which is called the Yanvalou so it will be very interesting to see how they receive that solo because it’s part of their heritage. The movement vocabulary came from their folklore background and what I think sets Belize apart is that we have African ancestry; we have an Indian ancestry, Mayans and Mestizo so our vocabulary is a little broader than those who only have two or three mixtures. So I made sure that within the movement I captured all of our ethnic backgrounds here which will give us, it’s not a competition but you know you want to be seen and recognized for our uniqueness so that was my approach with the composition for this piece.”

Joining the LyveArts Project Belize and Garifuna Collective is the Unique Belize Band, represented by Sharon Dale Humes and Marta Chiac.