Jaimie Forde began his career in the arts at the age of seven with The Helen Folk Dancers, an organization he remained a part of for several years. At twelve he enlisted in the Secondary Schools’ String Orchestra (SSSO) to play the violin, playing throughout his school life at St Mary’s College. He had a hand in the formation of an ensemble called Iyanola Strings, and was also a member of the Carlos Mynns’ Community Orchestra and the National Youth Choir.
Despite his love of the violin, dance in all forms remained near and dear to him He participated in several workshops organized by the Cultural development foundation based in St. Lucia.
At the Division of Arts Science and General Studies (DASGS) at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) he was a peer tutor with the SSSO. This created the opportunity to take up a post as string tutor with the Antigua Barbuda Youth Orchestra where he remained for six months.
Over ten years at the St. Lucia school of Music, from violin tutor to a conductor with the School of Music String Orchestra and the Marchand Youth Orchestra; Jaimie also held the post of head of the string department at the school.
His artistic career has seen him perform and attend workshops in dance, choral, and orchestra in Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Canoan, Taiwan, Grenada, Martinique, Dominica, St Kitts and St Vincent. He has shared the stage with the likes of Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, Barbara Cadet and Gabriel Richard, principal violinist of the Paris Symphony.
To date, one of his crowning achievements is conducting the combined Saint Lucia School of Music and Symphony Orchestra of Maduri part of an ongoing partnership with the Saint Lucia School of Music and El Sistema of Venezuela.
The productionBèlèlesh,debuted during JounenKwéyolfestivities at Alliance Française
In this new production Bèlèlesh Jaimie is one of four men, with several years of dance experience, who come together to unmask their struggles, challenges which are shared by so many, through the use of contemporary, modern, Latin, and folk dance genre. The reality of how we deal with challenges of life is seen, perceived, understood, misunderstood … in this playful yet deeply serious production.
As a counterpoint though, in a society where dance is often viewed as a feminine past time, this sex/ gender comes together to demonstrate skill and ability to dance and play as they explore the themes of strength, masculinity, brotherhood, sport, responsibility, commitment, death and life in the production.
Bèlèleshis dance, visceral bodies and in-depth contemporary exploration of culture. The production confronts points of masculinity, spirituality and community in a no holds barred interrogation. Bèlèlesh is sexy, arrogant, confrontational and never careful but shows off even the frailty of our perceived weaknesses; for even of our scars we are proud. ” …I come from; a place that likes grandeur; it likes large gestures; it is not inhibited by flourish…” Sir D. Walcott.
And so …BEH-LEH-LESH.
Bèlèlesh explores the fusion of the folk dance Bèlè with tones of contemporary, modern and Latin dance. Men take the stage in a context melling bravado and attention to the many idiosyncrasies of stage, theatre, folk ritual and dance.
“We have come a long way, but we still need your support. Your generous contribution will help us extend our vision of using dance to enrich the lives of so many; as one community we uplift and mold each other…”
The production is on at the Castries City hall for students on November 23rd and 24th from 1:30 pm for students. It is also on the 24th in the evening before moving further south during the National day festivities.
Catch Jaime, his violin and Bèlèlesh ! We will be there!!