Open forum — St. Thomas
How terribly disappointed I was to read your article entitled “Dance Reflects Cultural Mix of V.I. –Puerto Rico Friendship Day.” The author portrayed the experience as a confusion of noise and mishaps. How far from reality she was! She barely mentions Guateque, the outstanding and highly professional Folkloric Ballet of Puerto Rico who provided a high quality performance with its 21 members consisting of: a singer, five musicians, and dancers. Their costumes were superb and colorful; their timing, music and performance were impeccable. There were no mishaps or mistakes in their performance whatsoever. However this was never mentioned. As a matter of fact, Guateque is barely mentioned at all in the article. When I read the article, I was taken aback and wondered what performance this reporter attended. We get the impression that she decided to focus her attention on the very few glitches that occurred.
How culturally insensitive! How biased the reporting appears! I have never read a worst report of a magnificent, entertaining and culturally significant performance on the part of our local and visiting groups. The origin of the dances was explained and not once does the reporter mention any of the information that was imparted. She never mentions that the master of Ceremonies was the well-known local personality Glen “Kwabena” Davis. Reading the article I felt that the reporter was a person who had just arrived on the island and who knows absolutely nothing about the culture and the people who live on these islands. She seemed to know nothing about Puerto Rican or Virgin Islands music or traditions either.
The enthusiasm of the crowd was interpreted as noise and confusion. The clapping, encouragement, and appreciation on the part of the audience were interpreted as useless bantering. How far from reality it all is! There were no pictures of the guests of honor, Guateque, though their costumes and dances deserve special mention. I am attaching a few pictures for your delight. I wish you could have attended the performance. I know that, like the crowd, you would have been mesmerized and moved by the wonderful performances and the comradery that were evident that evening. Shame on that reporter!
Myrna V. van Beverhoudt
Foreign Languages Coordinator
VI/PR Friendship Celebration Committee Member