BELIZE CITY–The Belize National Dance Company held two concerts at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts over the weekend in celebration of its 24-year history. On Saturday night, Souls in Motion was performed on the stage by the dance company’s senior dancers, and then on Sunday evening, once more, the Bliss stage came alive with the same creatively conceived routine of Saturday’s show, but this time the dances were mostly performed by the dance company’s junior members in a matinee.
Souls in Motion is a high-performance, expertly choreographed presentation of 16 dance pieces embracing traditional ballet, ethnic cultural dances and modern contemporary dances. The children exploded on the stage in their colorful costumes, exciting the audience which was made up of many of their parents and relatives as well as dance aficionados.
Most of the dances performed by the children were of the modern contemporary type, while the senior members of the dance company concentrated their performances on the cultural pieces.
The show was almost flawless, except for a few technical glitches, during which, the dancers remained composed. Two dancers even got applauses from the audience for standing with their hands extended in the air, when the music stopped for a few minutes, just as they were coming onto the stage.
All of the pieces performed were done by multiple dancers, with the exception of “Freedom,” a solo performance by Denise Enriquez, a petite woman whose boundless energies and rhythm of movement were captivating and a definite treat.
Enriquez, however, is more than just a dancer with the Belize National Dance Company; she is the managing director and a choreographer as well. Souls in Motion featured three pieces that she choreographed.
They include “Samba” “Dance and Me” and “Love-struck”, which were performed by the company’s junior and intermediate dancers.
Enriquez told Amandala the show on Saturday night featured a mixture of dances.
“Last night we did a mixture which featured modern dances, which we are known for. We also did Mayan, Soca, dancehall; we did belly dance, Creole pieces, Garifuna and a carnival piece as well,” Enriquez explained.
Enriquez said it takes a lot of practice to put together a show like Souls in Motion.
“My class meets five times a week. The smaller children meet two times a week. We always give ourselves between three to six months to prepare for this, which is our anniversary show,” Enriquez disclosed, “and those practices are in between recitals, because we also do a pre-Easter show.”
“We do recruiting in January and right now we, the dance company, have about 75 members, but if you count in all those who are on leave or are away, it could go well over 100, “ Enriquez said.
Rosita Baltazar, who has been with the dance company for over thirty years, before it became the Belize National Dance Company, is the dance instructor for the junior dance company.
Baltazar, who is also a choreographer, instructs the children in modern dances. The ages of the children in the dance company range from 3 years old to 10 years.
“There is an older group which is the intermediate group and then there are the seniors”, Baltazar said.
“The children are introduced to basic ballet, folk, and Belizean culture”, Baltazar explained.
Althea Sealy, the artistic director of the Belize National Dance Company, said that today’s show is “a show that we do annually.”
Sealy said that they came up with the name “Souls in Motion,”, “because when a dancer dances, the most important thing is for you to have the spirit of dance, and if you have the spirit, it comes from within.”
“We are actually a school of dance,” Sealy explained, noting, “Denise and Rosita are responsible for the center, and the three of us teach the whole dance company.”
Sealy said that their other show for the year, Friends of Dance, is a show that they invite everyone in Belize who has a dance group to attend. This show takes place in February, and after that, they resume their preparation of their anniversary show, which takes place between November and December annually.