CHS Celebrates History Week

Last Updated: Sunday, 30 September 2012 Published: Monday, 27 October 2008 Written by Kamila Bell. Photography Andre McAulay

From Monday October 13th to the 17th the staff and students of the Convent High School celebrated History Week under the theme ‘Our Folk Dances’. As part of that week’s celebration, the teachers of the History Department along with several students led assemblies daily. Within these morning assemblies not only were staff and students provided with concrete knowledge of the traditional dances of Dominica, but they were entertained with a variety of spectacular performances put on display by varying CHS dance groups.



The week’s celebration commenced on Monday with an assembly led by the Head of the History department, Miss Audris Jno. Baptiste. She provided the students with an overview of Dominica’s folk dances. Cultural enthusiast, Mr Michael Ferrol, who was invited as a guest speaker that morning, spoke to the students on the importance of participating fully in their culture as true patriotic Dominicans. Special mention was made by Mr. Ferrol of the value of knowing how to dance Dominican folk dances, wearing the original traditional dress and speaking Creole. The highlight of that morning’s assembly was his demonstration of bélé with the aid of his drummer, and additions from Ghoda James who sang and Eslyn George who served as his dance partner.

On Wednesday, History week continued with the focus of that day being on the traditional dance of bélé, one of the oldest traditional dances of Dominica which strongly reflects our African heritage. As part of that assembly two very different, but equally commendable performances were put on display. The 5-A dancers showcased a contemporary dance piece in a very colourful way, and a group of students from varying forms demonstrated a very creatively choreographed bélé piece.

The week’s celebration culminated on Friday in a very exciting way. Miss Roxanne Christian led assembly focusing on the dances of quadrille and mazouk, informing staff and students alike on the history and variations of these dances. On that morning two groups displayed a combination of Dominican folk dances. The first group displayed bélé, quadrille and mazouk. The second, on the other hand, did a contemporary dance choreographed by Miss Natasha Nation. Their performance was truly extravagant with the use of costumes such as the sensay and a medley of songs, one very notable being the Reunion Song, as it is in fact Reunion year.

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At the end, Mrs Dublin, the principal of the CHS, extended her commendations to the teachers of the History Department, as well as the many students who made that week’s celebration special and a great success. She also used that opportunity to encourage students to learn traditional dances and to appeal to those who were already skilled in such areas to always display such talent.

As pointed out by the principal, the 2008 History week celebration at the Convent High School was indeed a grand success but also a very memorable event. It certainly served as a reminder of how rich, diverse and very much alive our Dominican culture truly is.

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