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May 30, 2023

Cultural Explosion in the Belize District Festival of Arts

The Belize District Festival of Arts commenced on Monday in San Pedro and Caye Caulker and today, made its way to the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts in Belize City. During this week, approximately one hundred performances from primary and secondary school students will be presented on stafe in dance, music and drama. While there were some nationalistic and contemporary presentations, many of the performances featured folk and cultural pieces. Tonight’s Kolcha Tuesday takes News Five’s Duane Moody to the Bliss auditorium.


Duane Moody, Reporting

It was a cultural explosion on stage at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts, as primary school students from Belize District put their best foot forward to win top scores from judges for the district festival of arts. It all began in San Pedro on Monday, where many of the performances were inspired by Mayan culture.


Kim Vasquez

Kim Vasquez, Director, Institute of Creative Arts

“They were out in San Pedro and Caye Caulker yesterday. Caye Caulker was in the night time; san Pedro during the day. So it was a full day out in the cayes and now we have the city this morning and then this afternoon, Belize rural; packed program for both sessions. And then we will be right back here next week of the golden showcase because the festival of arts is happening across the country right now. We have adjudicators right now in Toledo, in PG. Today is the secondary down there in PG and yesterday was the primary in PG.”


In Belize City today, the presentations were diverse – featuring cultural music and Creole folk drama.


Arlette Mosiah

Arlette Mosiah, Belize Rural Primary

“We are from the villages so you know we are going to come with a village song. So Mister Peters was the best choice for us and I think they did an awesome job because they got gold.”


Duane Moody

“Talk to us about what the preparation was like.”


Arlette Mosiah

“Well our children, they love to dance so it was easy for us as teachers to train them. Myself and Mrs. Kira Stephenson, we took them in the afternoons for about an hour, hour and a half and it took us about a month.”


Duane Moody

“…and it paid off because you guys got gold.”


Arlette Mosiah

“It did; it did.”


Jacy-lee Pou

Jacy-lee Pou, Burrell Boom Methodist School

“We had twin day a couple weeks ago and the other infant one teacher and myself, we dressed as minions and my students enjoyed it so much and so they said, we want to dress as minions too. So, I thought about it and I said let me dress them like minions and do a minions dance and so that’s where it came from.”


Sherett Brackett

Sherett Brackett, Lady of Lourdes RC, Maskal

“Because of the COVID situation, a lot of people started not to believe in themselves, so I decided let us do a slow dance – cause I usually do fast ones – let us do a slow one so people can relax and learn from it that I need to believe in myself and anything is possible; it starts with me if I believe in myself.”


Director of the Institute of Creative Arts, Kim Vasquez says that the Festival of Arts is the foundation for the expressive arts, but also for the preservation of that intangible cultural heritage of various ethnic groups in Belize.


Kim Vasquez

“That was a specific mandate with the revival. One of the things that we are trying to integrate into festival of arts is language preservation and so we said that in the presentations earlier this year that we want to see more language, we want to see more cultural heritage. But, of course, we also recognise that the festival of arts is a blend of cultural and contemporary art forms so we welcome both. This is the cornerstone of the work that we do at ICA in youth development. The festival of arts for us is the foundation of everything we do where children are concerned. It has to do as well with the training of teachers in the expressive arts. This is a revival year. This is the third time in history that the festival of arts is going through a revival; the last one was 2019. There are a lot of growing pains, lot of challenges. We are seeing more students this year as we are coming back. This is it right here; this is what gives you the motivation and give yo the cold seed and everything. And another part for me is I love seeing them watch their peers on stage and I like hearing them applaud for each other.”

The golden showcase takes place on June seventh at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. Duane Moody for News Five.

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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