The Brooklyn Arts Council Folk Feet dancing community collaborated with the Guyana Cultural Association — organizers of the Annual Folk Festival in the Borough — to mark its 10th anniversary with a stirring presentation on the streets of Brooklyn.
Newkirk Avenue at the corner of 28th Street came alive on Saturday, July 25, with Afro-Caribbean Masquerade dancers from Impressions Dance Theater who showcased the traditional art form during an hour-long celebration of Caribbean artists.
Dressed in red, yellow and green decorative costumes and matching traditional headwear, the youths kicked up their heels and flounce to the musical band that included a flute, African drums and percussion.
A ‘mad cow” effigy carried by a dancer, was also part of the ensemble, during highlights of the BAC’s commemoration.
It is said the origin of the masquerade band that brings merriment on the streets of Guyana during the Christmas season came from African slaves during the European religious Christmas season when the country was a colony of Britain.
According to history, slaves, who were forbidden to practice their traditions, were slightly less restricted during the season. As such, they visited other plantations and revel with other slaves where drumming and dancing in the streets at that time were allowed.
The summer audience on the street outside of St. Stephens Church, one of the sponsors, also enjoyed performances by Guyana’s Chronicle Atlantic Steel Orchestra. Traditional Haitian dance by “La Troupe Zetwal” and workshops were also a part of the program.
Christopher Mule, director of Folk Arts at the Brooklyn Arts Council and Cultural Director of Guyana Cultural Association, Claire Goring and GCA committee planned the event.
BAC Community Arts Grants are made possible through the generous support of the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) in partnership with the New York City Council, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.