MAHO REEF, Sint Maarten—National Institute of the Arts (NIA) showcased St. Maarten’s culture and talent at the Parlatino Committee Meeting’s opening reception held at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino on Thursday, May 22.
The performance arts institution, known for both its cultural and contemporary repertoire, was charged with adding aspects of arts to the evening.
“The organizers of this event recognize that to showcase a nation's culture, you cannot really do it just through a speech, you have to involve the arts. You need an artistic element to capture the full St. Maarten story. So for them to recognize that and also that NIA is the premiere vehicle from which to display our island’s culture strengthens our awareness that we are on the right path as an arts institution,” Co-Director of NIA, Arlene Halley said.
NIA presented two dances and a medley of St. Maarten’s cultural songs, which highlighted folkloric, Latin and modern contemporary elements. The initial dance was an upbeat piece paying tribute to the polka and Latin influences on the island and was danced to the music of the island’s legendary Tanny and The Boys. The mixture of songs was sung by vibrant trio, Morenika Charles-Arrindell, Lena Browne, and Malaika Maxwell. The second dance, PAC-B-13, is a modern contemporary number, which was choreographed by NIA instructors Peggy Oulerich and EoIia “Bibi” Ada, along with Co-Directors Arlene Halley and Clara Reyes and is named for the quartet.
Each piece seemed to delight the attending guests and earned high applause.
“We always bring strong performance elements to all that we do, making sure that each piece tells a story about who we are as a St. Maarten people. When it comes to cultural heritage and its preservation we often hear about all of these wonderful buildings or natural spaces, but it is really the people who create the experiences that are had in the buildings or spaces, so it is the people that really create the legacies that live on and that is what NIA is all about, creating a lasting legacy of arts,” Co-Director of NIA, Clara Reyes said.
Latin American ParliamentParlatino is comprised of regional National Latin American and Caribbean Parliaments. The organization held its annual representatives meeting on St. Maarten last week.