Imbali students to compete in Guadeloupe

POSTED: 04/19/11 11:20 AM

St. Maarten Some 14 students of Imbali Center for Creative Movement will head off-island to compete in ‘Le Concours Federaton Regional De Dance Guadeloupe 2011’ from April 19 – 22.

The youngsters, who will be accompanied by three adults including Imbali Founder and Director, Clara Reyes, will also participate in ‘Semaine de la Danse Stage International’. This is the second year that Imbali students will participate in this prestigious regional dance competition and expectations are high.

“Last year we only went with the boys, but after the amazing experience that they had we opened it up to the whole school so that the girls could compete also. The bulk of the Imbali student body is made up of young women and I really wanted to honor their contribution and hard work. The children will be competing in ballet, modern dance, jazz, African dance and Bharatanatyan and have been practicing intensely since January. They will compete as soloists and in groups,” Imbali’s Director Clara Reyes said.

The youngest of the competitors is six year old Trinity Christine, who has been entered as a soloist in the African dance category. Jeremiah David, 10, is the only male competing for Imbali this year and he will be presenting a solo in ballet and will also compete with other Imbali students in the modern dance category.

“By taking our students on trips like these I am attempting to highlight Imbali and St. Maarten’s global position in the Caribbean. For me we haven’t really tapped into our potential as creative people and I want my kids to understand and know how much they can develop in their art. I want them to know how far they can reach. So when they go abroad and they see other youngsters who already see themselves as artists this reinforces the goals and aims of Imbali,” Reyes said.

Imbali has been implementing overseas trips for its students since 1996 and will continue to do so into the future.

“Trips like these not only help our students develop themselves and learn more about the world of dance, but it also exposes people abroad to what St. Maarten has to offer. People think that we don’t produce anything here and that is far from the truth,” Reyes said.

“We’re already looking at several other regional and international competitions for our students to participate in. By entering these competitions we will be creating more venues for our students to explore themselves in beyond St. Maarten. I’m not belittling St. Maarten at all. We do have strong programs here, but sometimes this leads us to believe that this is all there is, when we should be pushing ourselves further and higher. Sometimes I think we’ve become more provincial in our thinking, rather than understand how much we are connected to the rest of the Caribbean and world. This is not what I want for my students. We have some amazing dancers right here in the Caribbean and events such as these gives our students the chance to see what the rest of the region is doing and offering. Also the judges are from the prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and they award grants for a 6 week dance program in New York City, so this allows my students to see what is open to them if they work hard and make attempts to perfect their art,” Reyes said.

Reyes said that the trip to Guadeloupe was made possible through a fundraiser.

“I have to thank, in large part, some of the hardest working parents I know and also the community at large, both small and big businesses, who contributed towards our travel expenditures. Further the people of St. Maarten who supported our Family Fun Day and the artists who contributed their time to raise the money for this trip,” Reyes said.

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