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Caribbean Dance – Creative Wellbeing Packs

March 21, 2022

Hello everybody,

I hope you are all doing well and 2022 is treating you kindly. I’m Lauren, a new addition to the Creative Arts East team here in Norwich. My role as Arts and Health Support Worker will mainly include supporting Lea and the Our Day Out project, so I look forward to meeting you all in the coming months.

February’s Creative Wellbeing Pack features Rosy May, a dancer and choreographer, who gets her inspiration from her Caribbean heritage and love for dance. Trained in Musical Theatre at college, Rosy went on to teach Solo Latin classes in Norwich, and now creates dance workouts on YouTube.

Last year Rosy directed and choreographed a dance performance, showing the evolution of Caribbean dance and culture through the Islands – from the 1400s in Guinea; to the present day in London, getting ready for Notting Hill Carnival. This is a very important story for her to tell, and a personal one to Rosy as well so it is clear all her passion goes into her profession.

The activity pack curated by Rosy herself includes not just dances, but also clapping rhythms, flag designing and a cheeky little cassoulet recipe to top it all off. The first activity in the creative pack is clapping to Djembe drums, a dance called Kuku, accompanied by the CD provided to help you get your rhythm. I personally tried it myself without the music and found it quite difficult, so I recommend listening to the CD if you want to get the full experience of Kuku.

Moving through the pack, we then have an activity using a dance called Bachata, created in the Dominican Republic during the mid-1900s. Originally a mix of other dances such as Merengue, Son Cubano and Bolero, over time it has been influenced by other dance styles and has incorporated some of these stylings and movements; especially from contemporary and modern dance, hip-hop and ballroom to become what we know today as Bachata. There are four different types of Bachata dancing, but this is the closest one to the traditional dance originated in the Dominican Republic.

While Bachata focuses mainly on hip movements, the pack moves onto Soca dancing which involves a lot of energetic arm movements, waving flags and bouncing around. Rosy cleverly sets the challenge of “painting” a room with your flag, or alternative material, to get as much movement out of you as possible during the exercise. There is no right or wrong way to do this, just feel the music and move in the way your body speaks to you.

The last activity in the creative pack is a chance to show off your art skills, using the template provided to create your own flag! Anything goes as it’s specific to you, so you could draw your favourite things or get a bit wild and use the colours you like to create abstract patterns and markings. This is a great task to use your creativity and really focus on what’s important to you and your character.

Throughout March, Rosy will be teaching in-person classes at all your locations and dates can be found in the front of your wellbeing packs. These workshops will be the first face to face sessions you’ve had in a while, so a great opportunity to get out of the house and come and have a dance with us!

For those of you who attended the Zoom workshop with Rosy, you will have seen my attempt at salsa dancing! Personally I really enjoyed it, and it was so lovely to see everybody giving it their all and having a good time. I’m really looking forward to meeting you all in person and having a laugh and boogie with you!

Here is the link to Rosy’s YouTube video of her dance performance if you would like to watch it: The  Islands | A Caribbean Dance Film by Rosy May – YouTube

And if you’re interested in any of her other dance workout videos, they can also be found on her page here: Rosy May Online – YouTube

Until I see you face to face, keep smiling and enjoy your creative wellbeing packs!

Take care, Lauren x

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