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May 25, 2018

Festival of the Arts Goes National

On the heels of the successful district festivals of arts, the national event opened this morning at the Bliss Institute and continues until Thursday of next week. The theme “Pathway to Peace; Creativity and Unity,” captures the spirit of the national festival in which over a thousand young students from the golden performances will be showing off their talent in diverse genres of the arts.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Since it’s revival by the National Institute of Culture and History, the National Festival of Arts has grown leaps and bounds, with more schools actively participating in the creative arts programme. Now expanded to include pre-school, primary and secondary schools, the golden showcase will see over one thousand two hundred young talented persons take the stage over the next five days in dance, song and drama. Youth Development Officer Kim Vasquez says there are new components to the festival.

 

Kim Vasquez

Kim Vasquez, Youth Development Officer, ICA

“The preschool golden showcase, the high school competition, the chords and voices showcase; those are new elements that continue to cause the festival to increase in size and participation.  This is the culmination of the district festivals of arts that usually takes place between January and May and those that place gold are eligible to advance to the nationals. And that is what’s happening today; the opening ceremony kicks off the calendar of events and tomorrow we move right along with the preschool golden showcase where we will have some two hundred and seventy-five preschool students here on stage at the Bliss tomorrow.”

 

A highlight of the opening ceremony was a performance by the Belize Youth Challenge, which through a pantomime at the secondary level, created a powerful rendition of the battle between good and evil. ‘Break Every Chain’ of social pressures and what youths face on a daily basis—the group wanted to share this message with their colleagues.

 

Michael Barrera

Michael Barrera, Belize Youth Challenge

“It wasn’t something that we did over and over; we only had days to practice it and we brought it together due to the fact that there are a lot of things with the youth right now in our country and we really wanted to touch them and say that God is the way for them.  We choose that because drugs, all those different types of drugs that you saw in the performance; it is what is affecting Belize right now. And so we are showing them if they try to go to God, they will still have struggles. It won’t be like they will go and all of a sudden it will stop. But if they continue being strong and have the faith that God will do it, it will happen. And that is why we chose those.”

 

C.E.O. for the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Adele Catzim-Sanchez says that the creative arts foster development in the youth.

 

Adele Catzim-Sanchez

Adele Catzim-Sanchez, C.E.O., Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture

“It allows us to see that children, given the opportunity to participate, can use the arts to develop their critical thinking skills, develop their emotional intelligence; it’s a way to bring social cohesion within the education system, within the schools. As you saw with one of the performances with the teachers from the Stann Creek District; those teachers were from different ethnic groups, but they did a dance that brought them all together. And I feel like arts and culture has the capacity and the ability to speak to people beyond ethnic groups, racial lines, beyond gender lines.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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