Over 260 performers, ranging from a fouryear-old dancer to a 66-year-old dancer, will take centre stage during the National Cultural Foundation’s community showcase at next Wednesday’s May Day celebrations.

The showcase, which runs from midday, will feature multiple choreographies presented by enthusiastic participants enrolled in the NCF’s community training programmes across the island. A new orchestra based on the national music artform, the tuk band, is expected to make its debut at the Barbados Workers’ Union’s annual Labour Day celebration: It’s About You Too: Family Day & Picnic at the National Botanical Gardens.

Other performances will include African, Afrobeat, and street dance, the ancient Barbadian martial art of stick-licking, and cultural expressions of the Barbados Landship, including the maypole and tuk band drumming and playing the penny whistle.

“I just want Barbadians to really come out and see what they’ve been doing over the last couple of months. They’ve been working hard,” said National Cultural Foundation (NCF) Cultural Officer (Dance) Alicia Payne-Hurley.

“They’re now understanding the rigours of performance and preparing for performance and the additional rehearsals, getting the costumes ready and right, the excitement is in the air.

They’re so ready to perform for Barbados.”

The cultural showcase is being produced by the NCF in recognition of the Season of Emancipation, which runs until August 27. It holds special significance as the NCF marks its 40th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of Crop Over this year.

The performers have been enrolled in the NCF’s Intangible Cultural Heritageprogrammes aimed at re-engaging the community through training and showcasing talent. The free classes were held in four zones covering all parishes and were open to all ages and experience levels.

In addition to various dance disciplines, 53 individuals received training in tuk drumming and the penny whistle. Stick licking was also revived through the programme’s classes across schools.

Payne-Hurley expressed excitement about the tuk orchestra’s pending debut: “I think people will be in for a fabulous surprise when they see our amateur tuk orchestra who will probably shock them on May Day.”

She noted the outpouring of community support during last year’s showcase, with families proudly cheering on performers of all ages.

“You will get to see lots of entertainment but you also get to see persons in your community just like yourselves, not necessarily professional dancers, persons who have never done this before… have braved it and decided: ‘You know what? I’m gonna show the world what I have been doing since January 6 and I’m gonna do it with pride’.” (PR/BT)

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