TOBAGO’S traditional dance expressions were on full display on Saturday during the preliminaries of the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition at the Signal Hill Secondary School.
The dancers, a combination of seasoned artistes and burgeoning performers, delivered exhilarating presentations before an appreciative audience in the Cecil Dalrymple auditorium.
Over ten cultural groups performed before the judges in the categories spiritual dance; French-influenced dance; La Reine Rive self-expression; African-influenced dance; La Reine Rive talent; soca dance; national patriotic dance; creative freestyle and limbo dance. Some groups competed in several categories.
The competition began with the spiritual dance category, featuring three groups, Rhythmic Vibrations, Tobago Drama Guild and Zante Unique Touch.
Although all of the dances in this category were well-received, Zante Unique Touch drew thunderous applause from the gathering.
The group also performed in the French-influenced dance and La Reine Rive self-expression categories.
Many people in the audience said they were very impressed with the calibre of the presentations.
“The future of Tobago’s culture is definitely in good hands,” one woman remarked.
“You have plenty young people performing in the groups. That is a good thing.”
Some of the dancers, especially from the group, Delicia’s Dance Agency, were as young as six years old.
Earlier, Louris Lee Sing, manager, Prime Minister’s Best Village Unit, delivered and overview of the programme.
She said Tobago must become more integrated into the national Best Village programme.
Lee Sing, who has been programme manager for just over one year, told the audience, “I think that Tobago still has a lot to teach us in Trinidad and the way you all have organised and promoted your tourism product, I think is a lesson we need to learn.”
She said Tobago’s cultural practitioners have ensured over the years that the island’s heritage is preserved.
“Tobago has always nurture its own unique and very valuable and traditional folk culture. Things that we may have forgotten in Trinidad, Tobago remembers.”
Lee-Sing said the island continues to make an immense contribution to the country’s cultural landscape and the Best Village programme in particular.
Reflecting on the programme’s 60th year in existence, Lee Sing said its organisers have reintroduced several activities to celebrate best kept streets, best kept community centre, best kept heritage site.
The THA's Jesse Taylor, acting cultural officer 11, Division of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation, gave welcome remarks.
The preliminaries continues at the same venue, today, under the themes, dramatised literature and music.
Dramatised literature features several categories, including Anansi story, Carnival characters, poetry/spoken word, short story and village chat.
The music category will cover areas such as folk song, East-Indian folk medley, original calypso on Best Village, spiritual song and calypso medley. Competition begins at 11 am. The theme of this year’s Best Village competition is Homage To Our Origins.