By Ingrid Fernandez, Staff Reporter
Dance X is celebrating its seventh year of existence by holding dance presentations and workshops throughout November 23- 29 2015 at the Bliss Center for performing Arts.
Karen Vernon, theater director at the Bliss Center for the past eight years and artistic director of the Dance X company for the past eight years, explains that the significance of this week’s event is to “move dance forward, teach and hone dancers with different techniques so they can better themselves and in turn teach the younger ones and we have some continuity”. Dance X is hosting a week-long event of dance performances and workshops involving local and international groups.
The official opening was held on Wednesday where a forum and presentation to honor the visiting groups was held at the Memorial Park.
The week-long event started on Monday with pre-empting workshops with established dance groups and marching bands. Jamie Thompson from Live Art Projects international, worked with the Lero Huno Dance Group from Dangriga, who presented at the Bliss on Saturday. Thompson also conducted a workshop with Gwen Lizarraga High School marching band on Tuesday.
The week also featured presentations by a modern group from Mexico, a tango group from Argentina, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Live Arts International and established names in Belizean Dance, like Lero Huno from Dangriga, Orquede Negro from Benque Viejo del Carmen and the Dance X junior groups.
Taking advantage of their relationship with international partner companies and with the intent of decentralizing the arts from out of Belize City, Dance X has planned to bring Theatro de la Danza del Caribe from Cuba who will be going into the different districts teaching dance and choreography.
Dance, says Vernon, is important because “ it is part of our culture and it’s not just modern dance, it’s the Creole Dance, the Mestizo Dance, the Garifuna Dance and if we don’t continue to perform these and teach our younger people we will lose that.”
Vernon believes that incorporating the arts as part of the curriculum in schools and installing paid Dance Teachers in schools is very important. Currently pilot projects as these are being held in some schools as Holy Redeemer and Grace Kennedy. For the art to take equal significance in schools curriculums, however, says Vernon, it would have to be a government initiative and subsidized by the government.
The benefits that dance gives to the participants is significant, says Vernon. She said that she has seen dancers come together to share their cultures, get to know each other and become more disciplined.
Vernon, shared that her vast and prolific legacy in dance has taken her to appreciate dance to the extent that she is actively involved in its promotion. “I don’t dance anymore, but I like to be involved in dance, planning in organizing events and seeing dance come alive and stay alive and rise in Belize. I’m willing to work with any group to keep dance alive and build it in Belize.