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Cultural Diversity Celebrated at Humanities Festival Kickoff

April 2, 2006 — "I don't think you will see as many cultures represented in one place in the islands as you see here tonight," said David Gould as he announced the kick off of the 2006 University of the Virgin Islands Humanities Festival Sunday night on St. Croix.
The week of events with the theme "Caribbean Creole Language and Culture" includes events on both campus and events being broadcast from one campus to another.
The festival keynote speech is by John Rickford, a Stanford University linguist. His talk, "Use of Creole in the Literature and Orature of Caribbean Poets and Ordinary People," is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday, but, according to Gould, Rickford will also be giving talks on the St. Thomas campus next week.
The St. Thomas campus started events with a production of the Carlo Goldoni play "The Servant of Two Masters." by UVI's Little Theatre this weekend.
However, most events are based on St. Croix this year, with several being videoconferenced to the St. Thomas campus.
The Caribbean Cultural Extravaganza on Sunday on St. Croix attracted over 300 people.
Gould said the opening always attracts a good crowd because so many diverse groups are represented and they all have their local supporters.
The evening featured a Spanish flamenco dance group, Filipino singing, poetry and drumming representing the rhythms of the Dominican Republic, dancing from Dominica, belly dancing, the St. Croix Heritage Dancers and the Music in Motion dancers
All the diverse entertainments were woven together in a dream dialogue narrated by St. Croix professors Shirley de Chabert-Highfield and David Capriola.
The crowd was startled at the beginning of the performance of the belly dancers from Janzie Allmacher's UVI class as the power went out and the cafetorium went dark. But the lights came back on within moments and the action dancing was greeted with cheers.
Capriola told the audience he had not told his wife about this part of the dream.
Upcoming events this week include:
— A documentary film in progress on Quelbe music in the Virgin Islands, focusing on the group Jamesie and the All-Stars at 7 p.m. Monday at EC401 on St. Croix and B-110 on St. Thomas. The filmmaker, Andrea Leland, and James "Jamesie" Brewster will discuss the project and the history of Quelbe.
— A panel discussion on Creole languages 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. It features Nicholas Faraclas, University of Puerto Rico; Arnold Highfield, professor emeritus, UVI; and Dr. Vincent Cooper, UVI.
A reading by Trinidadian novelist Elizabeth Wednesday. This event will also feature award winners of the festival's short story and poetry contests.
For more information on the festival, contact Gould at 692-4143.

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