Dancing On A World Tour
The Belize Dance Company returned to Belize this morning - after a 2 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.
Belize represented the music and dance of the Maya, Creole and Garifuna cultures of Belize in 31 different villages, towns and municipalities.
They told us more today:
Denise Enriquez - Member, Dance Company
"Well, it was exciting. I was really nice. The members of the contingent, most of the time, we were filled with pride because most of the people that we got perform for - and talk to about Belize, really appreciated our country and wanted to come and visited."
"For those who may not know, where were you guys?"
"Well, we were in Europe for 2 months. We went to France and Spain. We spent most of our time in Spain, but we were back and forth throughout the 2+ months that we were there. We left on July 4, and we came back today, about a few hours ago. It was awesome. The crowds - there was 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. 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."
"Tell me, what was your favorite part of the tour?"
"All the parts, we went to some amazing places. I liked Barcelona; it was really nice. We had a few performances that were streamed live. One of them was streamed live, and that was the one that I liked the most because Belizeans got a chance to actually see us live there while we were performing."
"Tell us a little about the performances."
"Well, we did stage shows. Most of our performances ran between 20 to 90 minutes. Those were stage shows. We did street performances. We did street animations. We also did a lot workshops for children and elders who wanted to learn about others. So, those were basically some of the things we did. From my stand point, I had to be involved with most of the administrative parts as well. So, one of the things that we wanted to do was not only share the dance and the music, but also knowledge about Belize. So everywhere we went, we had an information booth with the BTB logo. People would actually come to the booth, and we'd share information about the country, the tourist attractions, and what made us what we are."
Drew Gill - Member, Dance Company
"For the initial first month, they asked me to be the musical director because the other guy who was supposed to be the musical director, he didn't get to Europe until - because of our complications - after the first month. So my job was to pretty much take care of the musicians, do rehearsals over there, and make sure that our department - the musical department - was always ready when they were ready for Belize."
"Tell us a little bit about that experience."
"Personally, I had a lot of fun doing it. I was the youngest person in the musical department, so it was fun them to pick me to be the musical director. Having dealt with the guys and the girls every day, it was a lot of fun. I can't complain. Sometimes, they were challenges because we were always on the move, but overall, it was good."
"Was it your first time doing something so grand - to be a part of something so huge?"
"Yes, most definitely, I've played in some stuff here in Belize before, but to go abroad and to do something so grand, to me, it was an honor."
"So, to put your entire experience in a nutshell, what would you say?"
"Great, it was great."
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.