St. Croix’s We Deh Yah Quadrille Dancers have been invited to participate in the World Folkloric Festival in Europe. The local group will perform along with more than 1,000 dancers from over 30 countries. All dancers will be cultural representatives of their respective countries.
The popular event is presented twice a year as a spring festival in April and a fall festival in October. We Deh Yah will perform from Apr. 24-28, 2020, with the group dancing at three separate festival sites: The Sanremo coastal city and the Diano Marina commune, both in Italy, and the resort city of Cannes on the French Riviera.
“This is an incredible experience for us,” Promotions Director Michael Armendariz said.
“We are so excited that this opportunity will bring exposure to St. Croix and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We plan to be walking, talking and dancing ambassadors for our islands.”
According to Armendariz, festival organizer Nenad Horvat visited the We Deh Yah Facebook page and contacted him. “We are delighted to have Facebook friends throughout the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Denmark, Spain, France and the United Kingdom,” Armendariz said.
The group danced at Mango Melee in July and at the V.I. – Puerto Rico Friendship Month activities in October.
We Deh Yah performed quadrille in front of the Company Street Hotel, Saturday evening at the Rediscover Company St. celebration in downtown Christiansted. Company St. businesses threw the block party and the dancers showed off their cultural footwork.
Armendariz recalled that their weekly dance gigs at Divi Carina Bay Resort and Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa were a regular source of entertainment for locals and tourists. Hurricane Maria’s damages to both venues in 2017 curtailed the group’s performances.
Patricia Canegata is a founding member of We De Yah Quadrille Dancers. “We will be celebrating our tenth year of dancing in 2020,” she said. “The Italy and France performances will be our second folklore festival abroad. We danced in Denmark and we will be going back there in 2021.”
“I am so excited to visit other countries and enjoy cultures I’ve never seen or experienced before. Italy and France are on my bucket list.”
My participation with the group keeps me motivated and involved to ensure we continue to share our culture with others, Canegata said.
“We do our utmost to preserve our culture,” Armendariz added. “We sponsor high school quadrille groups, we’ve assisted students with scholarship monies and we support other events within our community.”
The group invites the community to come out on Black Friday night, Nov. 29, for their “Annual Grand Quadrille Dance” at Reading Rainbow with the Renaissance Band and caller KC Henry. Quadrille starts at 10 p.m. and there will be dance instructions from 9 to 10 p.m. for those wanting to come out and learn the cultural dance.
We Deh Yah is actively hosting various fundraisers to assist them with their travel expenses. Recent fundraisers brought folks out for baked goods, Crucian breakfast and soup sale. There are plans for multiple raffle prizes to be drawn in December.
“We love to dance and we are asking the community – individuals, organizations, businesses – to hire us to perform at their birthday, anniversary and business events,” Armendariz said. Interested parties can message the group on their Facebook page or email them at [email protected]
We Deh Yah is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are welcomed as a tax deduction. A donation link will be added to the We Deh Yah Facebook page in the near future.