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Nov 24, 2000

National Dance Company celebrates a decade

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On Saturday, the Belize National Dance Company will be celebrating its tenth anniversary. For the past two weeks, the group has been busy rehearsing for “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” an evening of entertainment, to honour their founding director Eduardo Rivero. On Thursday night News Five visited the group as they were getting ready.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Since the Belize National Dance Company formed in 1990, it has struggled over the past ten years to establish an identity of its own. The company has gained notoriety for productions such as The Weeping Willow, Celebration and Bud Bank Wedding. The BNDC, had help from training guest instructor Eduardo Rivero and the Caribbean Dance Theatre of Santiago De Cuba, but Greg Vernon, BNDC’s Managing Director, says it has not been easy trying to develop dance in Belize. When the company formed, there were many well-established dance groups already on the scene, so they had to work hard to create a unique programme of their own.

Greg Vernon, Managing Director, BNDC

“There’s struggle in the sense that we are promoting dance. We are the pioneers of dance. Of course you had Mister Bob, Sistie Fairweather, Mary Valdez, Soli Argueles, Marjorie Bradley and there is Althea Sealey. Then came the Belize National Dance Company with a structured programme. Professor Eduardo left us with a very firm foundation and with a very structured programme. Structured in the sense of modern dance. We have developed this programme and now we are placing it within the dance companies of Belize and of course the primary schools.”

Throughout the years the dance company has also gone on tours and held workshops across the country to entertain and encourage young people to become interested in dance. Today, BNDC has sixteen members, most of who are volunteers.

Greg Vernon

“In the next ten years we hope to go into a full time member. We hope to do more touring and we hope to reach out to the rural areas and also the other districts rather than putting a base in Belize City. We have developed a Belize City audience, but we hope we will be able to develop an audience throughout the entire country of Belize, so whenever we travel we will be known nationally as the ambassador.”

Althea Sealey one of BNDC’s founding members says the past ten years have been educational as well as rewarding.

Althea Sealey, Founding Member, BNDC

“I really think we have progressed because we are working hard to find our identity. So it bugs our minds to find as I said, find an identity. So we exploit, we go a little farther add on to whatever modern we have learned and try to put our folklore in between. So we have really progressed a lot and it even shows in the new students that we have. We have young dancers who have come from the junior dance company and now they are dancing with the senior company.”

“It really makes me feel good because I never thought that we would have reached this far. For instance we had a lot of turnovers and we thought that after losing some of our guys it would have made a difference. But it seems as if that we women we know how to fight the deal and keep it strong.”

On Saturday, BNDC in celebrating its tenth anniversary by holding a performance featuring many of their popular pieces and other dances.

Althea Sealey

“We will be having one premier dance by the Cuban Mariella, she will be doing a solo. We have a duet between Rosita and myself, that is a dance we had done in the past and we are featuring things we have done in the past so it’s not that difficult for us right.”

Saturdays’ show will also include performances by the Belize National Junior Dance Company, San Pedro Dance Company, Vista Dance School, Ballet Arts School, Pan Tempters Steel Band and Mr. Peter’s Boom and Chime Band. The evening of dinner and entertainment gets underway at seven at the Bliss Institute. Tickets can be bought for forty dollars at the Belize Arts Council, The House Of Culture and from members of the Belize National Dance Company.

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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