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Nov 30, 1999

Composer/choreographer receives Lifetime Achievement Award

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He was born in 1920 and spent most of his childhood trying to overcome a speech defect, but his determination lead him to excel in not just one art, but many. During his seventy-five year love affair with the performing arts he was student and teacher, singer and songwriter, dancer and choreographer. He even tried his hand at painting and spent a number of years as a radio announcer. Almost one hundred young dancers passed through the Halls of St. Mary’s School which doubled as the training ground for the Bob Reneau School of the Dance. He composed songs to greet visiting royalty as well as created full-length musical productions for local audiences. He moved to the United States in the 1970′s, so the very young among us will not remember Bob Reneau. But they would do well to look over the program produced by the Belize Arts Council on the occasion of his receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. Bob Reneau’s life proves that dedication, discipline and the pursuit of excellence never go out of style. Reneau was honored last Saturday for his dedication to Belizean arts, and Belizean performers.

The Bliss Institute was packed to capacity as Belizeans and fans of Robert “Bob” Reneau came out to pay tribute to this musician, singer, playwright, producer, artist, composer and choreographer. Reneau resides in Chicago in the United States and had only arrived in Belize earlier that day to receive the outstanding artist award. During the ceremony a portrait of the artist was unveiled and the Belize National Dance Company presented Budd Bank Wedding… the dance.

Seventy-nine year old Reneau, who is recovering from two major strokes, had his daughter Barbara Reneau delivered the acceptance speech.

Barbara Reneau, Daughter

“I can assure you that this event will be a crowning glory in his life. We are proud to know that his labors were not in vain having used his gift from God to serve his country Belize and other countries. May his life be a shining light that others may continue to follow and may this event further cement what he has achieved.”

Beverly Smith Lopez, Director of the Belize Arts Council said they decided to move up the date of the award because of Reneau’s illness. Smith Lopez says there is no other Belizean artist who is more deserving of the award.

Beverly Smith Lopez, Director, Belize Arts Council

“So we decided to do the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Bob Reneau whom we think had really covered so many areas of the arts and cultural development of this country. So we jumped the Producer’s Award and brought it to the Lifetime Achievement Award and decided that Mr. Bob is the fittest person to give in that we wanted to give him when he was still alive.”

Reneau told News Five he is grateful for the support he has received and his wish is to see more Belizeans interested in the arts.

Bob Reneau

“I just love them; I love the Belize people and I love them. But you know I believe that if they try to do much better…”

Q: “And carry on with the arts?”

Bob Reneau

“Yes, that is important, yes.”

The award was the fifth to be given by the Belize Arts Council.

Some of Reneau’s best known local musical productions include, “The Mahogany,” “Till the Soil” and “Crab Time”. Reneau acted in such plays as Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice. However it was in the 1960′s that he created his biggest accomplishment: The Bob Reneau School of Dance. The group performed dances like, “Kinich Ahau,” “The Decision” and “The Fisherman”.

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