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Aug 19, 2015

Belize Heads to CARIFESTA 2015

The twelfth annual CARIFESTA, the premier festival of the arts and culture in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is set to open this Friday in Port au Prince, Haiti. The regional government cultural event puts on display the very best of the performing arts including dance, music and theatre; visual arts, literary arts, film and media arts, culinary cuisine, fashion design, cultural symposia and a grand market of arts and crafts. Participating countries include the members of CARICOM as well as other countries in the Dutch, French and Spanish-speaking Caribbean, Canada and the United States. The festival will put centre stage for ten days and once again, Belize will be sending a delegation to the festival. Belizean Jamie Thompson is back in the country to produce a dance piece entitled “Barefoot Belize;” he will accompany the group to Haiti and today at the Bliss; the media got a sneak peek at the presentation. One of the persons leading the delegation is ICA’s Theatre Director, Karen Vernon.


Karen Vernon

Karen Vernon, Theatre Director, ICA          

“Belize will be represented in dance, arts and craft and music. We are taking the Garifuna Collective Band along with you just spoke with Jamie, the live arts dance project and two artisans from the UNIQUE Belize Project and they will be taking arts and craft. And we will have a booth at the grand market which opens on Saturday and runs the entire time of the CARIFESTA, until the thirty-first.”


Jamie Thompson, Production Director

“I looked at the cultural diversity of our culture and infused that into twenty minutes of dancing. There is the Creole vocabulary, the Garifuna vocabulary, the mestizo vocabulary and it is overlaid by a composition of modern movement. So it is a little different than what we are used to. We challenged the dancers greatly cause I pushed them to an increased level of technical prowess. So it is going to be very interesting where we have to see where our presentation lies in the midst of all these other countries who are sister and brother countries because we share the same ancestry. However, the movement expression that I did this year is somewhat a step away from the normal folklore express yourself—this is Creole, this is Garifuna, this is Mestizo so this is truly a melting pot experiment that I have embarked on for this project.”


Jamie Thompson

Duane Moody

“And of course, separating yourself from the other CARICOM countries.”


Jamie Thompson

“It is not a competition, but we like to standout—you know how we are—so I have to ensure that I pay duty in making sure that we are outstanding in our presentation.”


Duane Moody

“Now we know that you’ve done work in the Caribbean as well. Are you taking any influences from there? I know as one of the directors in the U.S….taking all of that that you’ve learned over the years infusing it into what you are doing?”


Jamie Thompson

“For us dance here is an extracurricular activity, but for the past six days, we were here all day, ten hours a day rehearsing. So I think it worked clearly and it is different for them; I think they are kinda spoilt now. But I am glad, happy to be here and working with this group of dancers and I am happy to work with this group of dancers and I am happy to of course represent my country.”


Karen Vernon

“It’s the Caribbean and Central America, CARICOM mainly, and of course it is very important for Belize to make a presence in this. All the Caribbean countries will be there. We get a chance to share what we have and we see what other people have to offer so it is important that we do this.”


The theme for this year’s festival is “Our roots, Our Culture, Our Common Future.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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