Caribbean spirit: Queens denizens celebrate Island culture

Smile big: Young dancers from Devore Dance Center dressed in traditional garment at the “Spirit of the Caribbean” event at the Jamaican Performing Arts center on Aug. 4.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The Caribbean spirit was in the air.

Hundreds of people attended the “Spirit of the Caribbean” community event and concert at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Queens on Aug. 4. The mid-day event featured a variety of island cuisine, dance, and music. And it was as much an exhilarating experience, as a it was an educational one, said the executive director of a dance group that performed.

“I thought it was fabulous and a great cultural experience,” said Carolyn Devore of the DeVore Dance Center. “It was very phenomenal, the dancers loved the violinist there, and it was nice to see the kids interact with the other artists.”

One of the highlights of the day for DeVore, was getting the opportunity to try out Caribbean offerings.

“Personally for me, I loved experiencing the different foods, and learning about their origins and where they came from — it was fun,” she said.

About nine dancers from her dance center performed a piece to afrosoca music — a combination of afrobeats and soca music. The group also sported colorfully designed clothing made with African fabric and facial art, according to DeVore. Even though the dancers only performed once, the crowd showed them a lot of love afterwards and they got a chance to also partake at other activities during the event, said DeVore.

“After the performance a lot of people were running to them to take pictures with them like they were celebrities — everyone wanted to take pictures of them,” she said. “Some of them are Caribbean and related to a lot of the things there, but the others who weren’t had a nice time going around to experience the different food and they had a wonderful time.”

But DeVore said her ultimate favorite part of the event was the instrumental performance from the TTO All-Stars Band.

“The violinist was really incredible and phenomenal — I really liked him and thought the band did great job,” she said.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected] Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.

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