On Saturday 19th January, 2019, over seventy dancers and dance enthusiasts converged inside of the Gros Islet Secondary School’s auditorium. It was time for the much anticipated dance cultural workshop spearheaded by Saint Lucia’s very own professional dancer and choreographer-Shartoya Jn.Baptiste aka SHR.
Aptly titled “The SHR Experience”, the whole day event featured a group from Trinidad and Tobago, two American dancers, theatre enthusiasts and aspiring and professional dancers from all over the island.
With the promise of a diverse number of choreographers from different walks of life “The SHR Experience” welcomed local dancer and artisan – Jamaal “Freakout” Bruce, local drummer and cultural activist Hensley ” Afweche” Paul, well known Bajan dancer – Nandi Yard, and US based choreographers who have worked with Azaela Banks, Mariah Carey, Fergie and So You Think You Can Dance – Terry Wedington and Sayquon Keys.
From 9:00am to 4:30pm, the attendees took part in sessions such as warm-up and meditation, dancehall movement, BashmentSoca choreography, Baltimore Club Hip-Hop choreography, Afrobeat choreography, Cool -Down and meditation and a question and answer segment.
By all indications, each attendee left fulfilled and ready for the next “Shr Experience”. Sayquon Keys commended Shartoya on the organization of the event and her hospitality saying, “I’ve been to a lot of dance conventions around the world, and I will rank “The SHR Experience” in the top ten…”
Her drive and commitment to the arts knows no bounds and Shartoya has promised it won’t stop at the recently concluded Experience. She confirmed that plans are already afoot to purchase dance equipment for two dance groups with the proceeds collected.
The Gros Islet Secondary School also benefitted from the weekend activity as they took the opportunity to raise funds to build a new music room as the previous one was destroyed by last year’s hurricane.