Broadway star Nicole De Weever dances in St. Martin for first time in 16 years
Broadway star Nicole de Weever will dance in “Tribute to the Great Salt Pond” at the Jubilee Library on Thursday, February 24, at 7:00 PM, said Shujah Reiph, president of Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF). The poetry-headlined tribute, will feature dance and music as part of CLF’s 20th annual month-long Black History Celebration.
“This is a huge opportunity, like an open door for me,” to perform for the St. Martin public for the first time in 16 years, said de Weever. De Weever started her dance training here as a child then moved to New York City as a teenager to further her studies. She has since worked as a dancer in the USA, Europe, and Asia. Recently Nicole de Weever completed a stunning run with the hugely successful musical Fela! on New York’s mega-famed Broadway.
“We are happy to have Nicole home for a short break and to share her very creative work with us,” said Reiph. “With Lasana Sekou reading his poetry on the same program, means that we have two of our most dedicated and creative artists performing in tribute to this embattled St. Martin landmark,” he added.
“The poems will deal specifically with pain, love, survival, heritage, pollution, death, and birth in the Great Salt Pond. Nicole will transform a poetry selection with her original choreography and dance,” said Reiph. The music is by Angelo Rombley, St. Martin’s leading digital artist and himself an award-winning graphics designer.
“The idea is also to increase and continue spreading awareness about protecting the Great Salt Pond from pollution and landfilling and to preserve it as a St. Martin cultural heritage site,” said Reiph.
One of Sekou’s poems that will be read is “A Walkabout Poem for Patsy Brooks,” about the violent and bloody death of a handicap woman on the dumpsite in the Great Pond. Sekou will read this poem in public for the first time on Thursday.
“Lasana has called the Great Salt Pond the symbolic ‘cradle of the St. Martin nation,’ that is for the unity of our island-nation, North and South. One of the poems will even look at a St. Martin mythology of the pond,” said Reiph.
“What really inspired me when I heard of this event is that it’s people that understand the necessity of being true to self and the importance of … culture,” said de Weever.
“In most cases if you want to make proactive change you have to be a part of making it happen by educating people … to embrace and appreciate who we are as a people,” added de Weever on Conscious Lyrics over the weekend. Last Monday the brilliant artist was seen on the BET awards TV show as one of the featured dancers to the program’s opening song by Angelique Kidjo.
The Thursday program at Jubilee Library includes a brief discussion between the poet and USM students from Dr. Jay Haviser’s archeology class; and the opening of a petition drive to save the Great Salt Pond.
The program concludes with Sekou signing copies of his new book Pelican Heart / Corazón de pelícano, edited by the independent Cuban scholar Emilio Jorge Rodríguez.
The “Tribute to the Great Salt Pond” is coordinated by CLF in collaboration with Philipsburg Jubilee Library and HNP www.houseofnehesipublish.com. The theme of the Black History Celebration 2011 is, “Documenting the history we make.”
“All of the St. Martin people and guests to our island are invited to the Philipsburg Jubilee Library on Thursday at 7 PM to celebrate our history, with a tribute to the Great Salt Pond,” said Reiph.