September 17, 2004
Punta for KCCU dance festival

Speaking at the sixth Kingstown Co-operative Credit Union (KCCU) National Dance Festival media launch last Wednesday, Dance Development Officer Ann-Marie Venner said persons attending the dance festival this year will have the opportunity to see a different traditional dance.{{more}}
The media launch was held in the conference room of the Cruise Ship and Ferry Berth.
Venner said that at the last five dance festivals, the traditional dances were the Quadrille and the Maypole. However this year, it has been changed to a dance called the Punta. She said the Punta is one of our traditional dances that were passed down from the Garifuna people. The Punta is presently being practised in Belize and is sometimes done at social gatherings.
Venner also praised the KCCU for being sole sponsors of the festival since its inception in 1994. “Dance allows the individual to develop skills as dancers, and gives them an avenue to express themselves,” said Venner, who also spoke about a number of dance workshops that were held throughout the year.
The dance festival will this year be divided into five categories, namely modern, social, popular, traditional and creative folk. This year will also see participation from primary and secondary schools as well as different dance organisations.
The festival is divided into two parts, the preliminaries and the finals, with this Saturday September 18 being the day for the organisations to compete, while Sunday September 19 is for the schools. The finals in each category will be held on Saturday October 2nd.
President of the KCCU, Reuben John, said that the KCCU is proud to be sponsors of the event. He said that they have seen it grow from a small activity to a national festival.
“I am pleased at the Ministry of Culture’s attempts to make sure the festival is fine tuned, and I am looking forward to the new dances,” said John, who added that the dance festival has always been a highpoint in terms of the KCCU’s cultural sponsorship.
“It fits nicely into our cultural package,” said John.
Minister of Tourism and Culture, Rene Baptiste, is also looking forward to the Punta dance. She said that this dance is one of the many things that have been retrieved by the Garifuna Heritage Retrieval project which was started in 2002. She however wants to see more men involved in dance.
She said that a report, coming from Minister of Foreign Affairs Louis Straker, says that the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC) will be pleased to strengthen cultural links, “I’m looking for the opportunity of taking a cultural delegation to Taiwan in the near future,” said Baptiste.