Our dance class with Milagros Ramirez’s dance company, Ballet Folklorico de Oriente, was exceptionally fun! We learned two Franco-Haitian style dances: Gaga and Vodou. We moved across the floor in our skirts learning specific dance styles of Oriente traditions. The movements are quick and grounded, yet light on the feet and involve lots of shoulder articulation. Although we danced our hardest, I don’t think we are as accustomed to using our shoulders so much, and I definitely expect to be sore tomorrow between my shoulder blades!
With the choreography our skirts looked like beautiful, colorful waves. Using the skirts really changes the energy of the dance—to see bodies in a sea of floating colors and to feel the wind of the billowing fabric. As all of us had big smiles on our faces and sweat shining on our bodies, the class was both exhilarating and exhausting cardio!
That night for the Festival del Caribe, we performed “Anatomy of Freedom” with so much energy, passion, and stage presence. Despite a few mistakes, the audience was really energized and cheering for us throughout the dance.
As soon as we returned to sit in the audience a lady walked up to me and said that we represented the United States very well, sharing that she was from Philadelphia and really enjoyed the piece. I also saw at least one other audience member approach Professor Rosa to share their compliments. Even during group pictures on stage, audience members would run in to get a picture with us! It was so flattering and touching.
— Angie Pan, IU Senior studying Dance in the Body-Mind through the individualized major program
Tonight was our first performance in the Festival del Caribe. I was a little nervous because I didn’t feel my best this morning, but the trip has been so amazing thus far—it gave me the energy I needed to perform. The festival crowd at our first performance was bigger than I expected, and the show went great! The audience loved every part of our performance from start to finish. I could tell they especially enjoyed the drumming and our African-derived movements because of their cheers and applause. Seeing their reactions to our expression and movements made me happy to know we were doing the traditional and contemporary dances well.
— Sade Roberson, IU Junior studying Hospitality Management