The Belize Dance Company returned to country on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, after a two-month tour of France and Spain. The Company represented Belize at the prestigious international folkloric Festival du Sud 2012 along with 13 other countries. This Festival brought together over 1,200 musicians and dancers from each continent to share their cultural music and dances.
The dance company represented the music and dance of the Maya, Creole and Garifuna cultures of Belize in 31 different villages, towns and municipalities.
"There were always a lot of people at our performances and it's the look of appreciation you see on their faces. What we found there too is that they have a strong sense of culture - the people in Europe,” commented Denise Enriquez to Belize City Media. “They, most other places in the world, are experiencing a recession, but they didn't pull back funds in reference to their culture. We asked about that; we asked why they still did the festivals. They said that if they lost their identities, they lost everything, and so they will continue to do those festivals so that they can share their culture, and other cultures can come to Europe."
Liliana Nuñez, Roxana Bradley and Emilie Gomez were three local island girls from San Pedro who made part of the Belize Dance Company delegation and all had wonderful things to say about their experiences abroad.
“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” commented Liliana Nuñez to Ambergris Today. “The opportunity to represent my country in music, song and dance and broaden the knowledge of others about Belize was truly amazing and an honor. We were very well received everywhere we went and developed great friendships with so many people from around the world. It was definitely a great event to expose our beautiful Belize.”
Roxana Bradley and Liliana Nuñez represented San Pedro in the Belize National Dance Company
Emilie Gomez (in orange) dancing with the locals during Street Animation
Most of the group performances ran between 20 to 90 minutes. The group performed stage shows and did several street performances and many workshops for the children and elderly. Not only did they represent the music and dance of the cultures of Belize they also shared lots of information about the country including tourist attractions our country has to offer.
The Belize Dance Company also had a unique opportunity to introduce Belize to a wide cross-sector of European society through pre-arranged visits and gift exchange ceremonies with municipal government and tourism officials.
Planning is in the works to bring the Belize Dance Company to San Pedro for them to showcase the 90-minute presentation they did during the festival in the next couple of months. They had only showcased the presentation once in Belize City just before leaving the country. The date for that show will be announced shortly; Ambergris Today will keep everyone posted.
Denese Enriquez of the Belize National Dance Company at the 30th Annual Music & Dance Festival in Les Preses, Spain, Street Animation