Idakeda's Master Classes in Bèlè Dance were declared a success by Isabelle Florenty-Claude head of the Bèlè House in Martinique where the sessions were held. The week-long series of exchanges revealed many striking historical and present day cross-influences in the drum rhythms, dance movements and even the songs of both countries.
The group from Trinidad and Tobago was privileged to benefit from the experience of the Masters of Bèlè in Martinique, that is the elder practitioners of traditional dance movements and drum rhythms of Martiniquan Bèlè traditions.
The Artist in Residence Programme took place under the auspices of the Office of Tourism and Culture of Sainte-Marie and the House of Bèlè between April 10-14th. Dara Healy, Founder of Idakeda, was supported by Xavier Phillips, Master Drummer and leader of the renowned Wasafoli, Derrek Casanova, Dancer, Choreographer and Costume Designer, Neisha Roberts, dancer and former Bèlè Queen of Trinidad and Tobago and experienced drummers Lliano Gomez and Kempes Ramnarine.
Dara and the team also conducted a successful workshop in the dances of Trinidad and Tobago for the children of the Bèlè House and had the opportunity to witness Bele dance as performed by Martiniquans.
Both groups worked together to produce a show for the final night of the Residence Programme, showcasing a combination of the Bèlè dances of Trinidad and Tobago and Martinique. The show took place at the Bèlè House before a capacity audience which included the Mayor of St. Marie and the Chairman of the Office of Tourism and Culture.
The Idakeda team would like to sincerely thank the artistes who gave their full support for this venture; their professionalism and commitment were important for the success of the Master Classes. We are also deeply appreciative of the timely contribution of the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism of Trinidad and Tobago and the collaboration of the Alliance Française of Port of Spain. And finally, we say a warm and heartfelt thanks to the Masters of Bèlè for their wisdom, to Isabelle for being a wonderful hostess, to Mama who kept us very well fed and to the very talented artistes at Bèlè House, with special mention of Stella, Gillou, Christelle and Renaud who worked with us most closely.
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