Costa Maya Festival 2001 was a resounding
success bringing together the wonderful Maya cultural diversity. Most people
attended because of the presentations unique to this festival. Some particularly
enjoyed the pageant, others were entertained by the musical bands and the
ever-impressive Mexican superstar Laura Leon, but a large amount were delighted
by the cultural presentations. The dances native to our Central American
neighbors are always an attraction. Before this grand festival came to be,
folkloric dances in San Pedro were a novelty. This week, the San
Pedro Sun is honored to introduce a talented local that has
made a big difference in the entertainment world of Ambergris Caye by
introducing diverse culture to the dance scene - Mrs. Velie Paz Williams.
On January 28th, 1972 Velie was born to Evelia and Milo
Paz Sr. in the tranquil fishing village of San Pedro. Coming from a close-knit
family, young Velie enjoyed a happy childhood growing up among her brothers Milo
and Vidal. As a pre-teen, Velie discovered something very special about herself.
She realized that through the art of dance she was able to express her feelings.
In 1984, Velie joined the Sunshine Dancers, San Pedro's first recognized dance
group. For four years Velie and the Sunshine Dancers entertained in San Pedro
and throughout the country.
As a student Velie excelled,
graduating at the top of her commercial class at San Pedro High School in 1988.
After graduation, Velie moved to Merida, Mexico to pursue a profession in
cosmetology. Velie enrolled in the Academia de Belleza Merida where she was
certified as a cosmetologist in 1991. During her stay in Merida, Velie also
attended the Academia de Danza Hunab-Hu, a prestigious dance school in Mexico.
Velie took four years of dance classes specializing in Jazz, Ballet and
Folklore. Velie also enrolled in the Ayuntamiento de Merida to perfect her
knowledge of Mexican folklore. Always a very energetic and athletic young woman,
Velie also took advantage of the variety of schools available and enrolled in a
one-year aerobics class at the Gimnasio Sherryl.
returned to San Pedro in 1991, but instead of starting a business related to
cosmetology, she opted for a dance studio - her true calling. For two years
Velie trained and coached hundreds of girls in the art of dance. The San Pedro
Wave Dancing School introduced new styles and a new concept of dance when it
came to Jazz, as well as Mexican and Belizean cultural dance styles.
In 1993, Velie was chosen as the San Pedro Lions Queen.
She competed at the district level and emerged victorious as Miss Lions District
59, in a contest held in Belize City. Miss Paz was then invited to travel to
Panama as Belize's first Lions Queen to attend the Istmania Convention. One of
the highlights of this trip that is still very vivid in Velie's mind is when she
was given the opportunity to push the button, opening the Panama Canal. Since
then, Velie has been an active supporter of the San Pedro Lions Club. That same
year, on November 20th, Miss
Paz joined her life in marriage to Javier Williams, formerly of Belize City.
Together this marriage has produced two lovely children: Javier Vidal and Alexi.
Presently Mrs. Williams teaches aerobics classes from
Monday through Thursday at 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. She specializes in step, "Tae
Boe," and low and high impact aerobics classes. Although her dance school is no
longer operating, Velie is always willing to share her dance skills when
This graceful and charming woman is admired by
both the young and old of San Pedro. Through her artistic talents she has
introduced diverse culture to the dance scene. A dancer, athlete, cosmetologist
and mother, Velie Paz Williams is a true work of art and a fine example of the
great talent that keeps the traditions alive in "Our