Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ballet in Belize

I went to the ballet last night with a group of friends,. The Quintana Roo Classic Dance Company came to the city through the Mexican embassy, as part of their cultural celebrations. This year is the Bicentennial celebration of Mexican Independence and the Centennial celebration of the Mexican Revolution. This prestigious dance company has recruited children from all over the southern region of Mexico to be trained in classic ballet techniques. There were a few modern pieces within the show as well, but from what I could tell, the majority of pieces were classical in nature.

There were two pieces that stood out to me. The first was a piece called “Dancing”. As one of the more modern pieces, this particular dancer, Ashanti Perez, was quite expressive and true to the nature of her body through the flow of the music. The music used was an English language piece that spoke of love, self expression and movement of self. I was struck by the emotion that Ashanti had in this piece and I found it to be quite moving.

The next piece that I paid particular attention to was a collection of vignettes called “Ellas” (meaning “women”). Each vignette depicted a celebration of a particular woman in Mexican history. Although I can’t remember each of the names of the women represented, there are images that stand out. There was a nun, a freedom fighter of the Mexican Revolution and another one depicting the life of a dance teacher. Yet the one that stood out he most was a piece that showed the two lives of Frida. As a big Frida fan, I found this vignette to be particularly inspiring. One dancer was the more butch version of Frida and the other was the more traditional, but frail version of Frida, just after her accident. The relationship between the two versions of Frida was like viewing one of her self-portraits and I felt myself wanting to spend more time with Frida and her images. In all, “Ellas” was very well done and I often found myself reflecting on the important women in US history…while thinking how they might be depicted in a dance format.

At any rate, it was a nice treat to go to the ballet last night. I’m not a regular at the ballet but I do appreciate the art and even though I was a bit hungry, hot and cramped, I was quite entertained and even inspired. The event was held at the Bliss Performing Arts Center and I was surprised to find that it was a full house. But I guess when things are free, it’s best to take advantage of the opportunity. I never thought I would be going to the ballet while I was in Belize, but in true travel fashion, one must be open to the array of possibilities.