The name Rosita Baltazar is synonymous with dancing in Belize. A few years ago Baltazar was diagnosed with cancer. Today the nation is mourning her death as Baltazar has lost her fight with the dreaded disease. Rosita Baltazar has touched the lives of thousands of Belizeans, through her lessons or her performances. Today we spoke with two of her fellow dancers who reflected on her life.
“I first saw her dancing on a stage, from that time seeing her I knew that she was a very promising dancer and in 1989 there was a scholarship given to each of us members of a dance company, Rosita was from Leo Mar. We had other dancers like Kim Aikman and Leida Harrison and they were from different companies and we all got a scholarship to go study in Sarasota, that was given to us through Sister Fairweather, she brought some dance teachers from abroad, they saw us and they gave us a scholarship and we all went to live in Florida for a month together and that’s how we began to know each other. Ross was very vital to Belize because she spread her wings so wide, she went to all the districts in Belize and even the remote areas to really give her assistance and it’s not that it was a money making situation it was just a little stipend but she did it from her heart and she shared. She was fully in charge, she was the director, she was the leader and she was the choreographer and everything and likewise to the dance company itself Rosita was a person that always stood out for her energy and the spirit she sent out to others so that’s the Rosita I will always remember and I will miss her very well because she was my partner in dance. She really enhanced the culture. She was a Garifuna woman and she really when it came to her culture most of the choreography that we did she shared that with us, she shared her culture with us because the company has a Kriol section and a Garifuna section we are versatile but when it comes to the Garifuna section she was the one who shared the story with us and gave us an idea for us to understand the language a little bit better. Internationally and nationally when she would go to different districts she shared the culture. She always had this saying “To live is to dance.” and she almost proved that to us, as a matter of fact she did. We were in Europe in 2012 when she was officially diagnosed with cancer. We had gone on a two month tour and she didn’t take a break. To every presentation she performed and she gave her best. She could have died with us on that stage. She already knew something was wrong but she didn’t care.”
“Presently as of march of this year she was the dance instructor for the Junior Company prior to her becoming ill she was the artistic director for the junior company and assistant director for the National Dance Company so her role in the company has always been very strong and important because she’s really the ones that molded our dancers. The moment she stepped on the stage her eyes lit up and she had a smile on her face and the energy that she got on the stage with. Other dancers would feed off it and the audience would see her with all this energy jumping and smiling and dancing and all of that and so that is how I want to remember her in terms of dance and she has inspired me a lot to bring that energy and passion to dance and to the stage every time she stepped on the stage.”