“Hib Op”, according to the Belize Kriol dictionary, is to shake one’s body in dance. So allow me to say, come hib op wid wi! Translation- Come dance with us! This past week, Belize came again in motion with the 9th Dance X festival. Featuring dancers from different countries, Dance X is rooted deep in Belize’s dance history. This year, Dance X is in celebration of Belize Icon, the late, great Rosita Baltazar.
Rosita Baltazar was one of Belize’s finest dancers who paved the way for dance in Belize. Rosita, along with other dancers formed Belize’s first-ever dance company, the Belize National Dance Company. Through this group, Rosita was able to choreograph various folk dances that often represented each cultural group in Belize. The dance company traveled across the globe, with these folk Dances, shining light on Belize. Nine years ago, however, dancers Karen Vernon, along with Sistie Fairweather, got together to develop Dance Extravaganza- A show, in which dancers and dance groups from across the globe would come to Belize in celebration of dance.
Although it started off as a one-day event, the popularity across our borders grew, with a need and want for the festival growing each year.
Nine years later, Dance X has become a weeklong event. Since its opening, Belize’s stages have been pleased to welcome dancers from Cuba, Europe, Asia, the USA, the Caribbean, and many other countries. Dance X gives Belizeans the opportunity to witness great dancers, dance ensembles, and shows from across the globe. More importantly, however, is the opportunity it provides for Belizean dancers. As one of the biggest dance festival in Belize, Dance X gives Belizean dancers an opportunity to showcase their talent and develop their artwork. International shows like these, also help Belizean dancers to connect with dancers from across the globe.
Our Belizean Talent
All dancers have been working tirelessly all year long in order to present their dance. The show was this past weekend at the Bliss Institute for the Creative Arts. In Cayo, the Octavia Waight Center was where the show was held.
Dancers in this year’s round-up were from Trinidad, Cuba, Belize USA, Mexico, Turks & Caicos and many more. Belizean dancers include Jaylan Craig, Precision & Style, Ugundai Dance Group Ballet Dance Group and many more.
By Ilona Smiling