Ballet Tropical – Celebrating 20 years of Afro-Caribbean journey

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By Anuoluwapo Oduwole

More than a year of collaboration and hard work came together on Saturday evening, May 16th 2015 at Centrepointe Theatre to celebrate 20 years of rich Africa and Caribbean History. It also celebrated the Birthday of the Art School Director, Susan Lavertu who had made it possible. The event witness a creative mix of traditional and modern dances filled with colourful costumes coming together to form an elegant yet dazzling event engrained with African and Caribbean traditions. Over a thousand family members, friends and supporters were in attendance. The M.C, Tony Francis flagged off the event with an introduction of a dance titled “Flambo” after which presentation of the 2015 Afro-Caribbean Cotillion candidates took place. The Cotillion program currently going on its 4th year is one just like the Dance school program which has helped girls who get involved become better versions of themselves.

Suzan Lavertu who is of Dominican Republic heritage started her venture into the Afro-Ballet and Stick dance movement in 2013 both of which have now become favorites of the community. An Honour Scholarship Award given every year to one student was presented to a young lady named Miranda Githens for her complete love and devotion to dance. A dance titled “Angel Over Me/Catharsis” was dedicated to Susan’s sister Debbie who recently passed away due to cancer and others who are currently going through similar struggles.

Susan talked on how The School of Afro-Caribbean Dance” has created a space for mothers and kids to learn together while feeling connected. Two success stories of the school Camille Eanga-Selenge and Sierra Holder both nieces of Tony Francis presented a song at the event. The event came to an end with a combination of all the dances presented including Susan’s first Broadway piece “Caribbean Broadway” by SoulRhythms group. A reception continued afterwards where guests ate while supporting local community vendors. For more information contact www.afrocaribdance.webs.com or (613) 863-3493.

About the writer

Anuoluwapo E. Oduwole born and raised in Nigeria graduated from Carleton University, Ontario Canada with a B.A in Sociology w/a minor in Law (Hons). Her interests intersect race, ethnicity, class, conflicts and inequality faced by immigrants. Over the year she has been volunteering with kids while accumulating experience with the hope of continuing with a Masters’ Program. Her hobbies are reading, writing and watching movies.

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