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St. Croix Extravaganza to Conclude Inaugural Events

The 6th Cultural Extravaganza, a cavalcade of music, dance, poetry and story-telling celebrating the rich cultural history of the U.S. Virgin Islands, will kick off at 4 p.m. with the traditional blowing of the conch shell by Junie "Bomba" Allick, Jr., this Sunday, March 28, at the University of the Virgin Islands Cafetorium on St. Croix.

The event began in the imagination of Dr. Shirley de Chabert Highfield, assistant professor of Spanish and French, as part of the annual UVI Humanities Festival.

"I like bringing people together," Highfield said. "It's how I grew up on St. Croix. When I went away to college I missed that - people tended to separate themselves into their separate groups. When I returned to St. Croix I noticed some ethnic polarization here too, and through events like this I would like to see some of that bridged."

This year the Cultural Extravaganza is also the final event celebrating the inauguration of UVI's new president, Dr. David Hall, who will be in attendance.

The theme this year is "Visions," which Highfield said stemmed from a dream she had of the various groups participating in the event enthusiastically rehearsing and interacting in one place.

The Cultural Extravaganza is free to the public. Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

A highlight will be the return visit of the Flamenco del Sol dance group from Orlando, Fla., who will delight the audience with their brilliant costumes and precise dance steps. Group director Tamara Millar is also offering a flamenco dance workshop from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, in the Cafetorium. The workshop is free to anyone in the community interested in participating.

The Cultural Extravaganza will also feature the St. Croix Heritage Dancers, African dance and drumming, Filipino song and dance, Puerto Rican dancing, original poetry and songs about St. Croix, a Jazz instrumental composition written especially for the event, a historical-cultural background of St. Croix, UVI Belly Dancers and much more.

Organizers thank the leadership provided by the Inaugural Steering Committee, the UVI Office of the Provost, the UVI Cooperative Extension Service, the UVI College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the Mid-Island Federal Credit Union for their sponsorship of the 2010 Cultural Extravaganza. Special thanks are extended to Elizabeth Armstrong and family, and staff of The Buccaneer Hotel on St. Croix.

For more information call Dr. Shirley Highfield at (340) 692-4123 or send email to shighfi@uvi.edu.