Africa: How Calabar Carnival fetes the world last December
Since the Cross River Carnival Commission introduced the International Carnival Day, it has been lapped by wave after wave of big performances by foreign artistes. Performers from across the globe thrilled the audience at the full capacity Margaret Ekpo International Stadium, with each unique performance exciting the boisterous crowd in different ways.
There were cultural dances from Ukraine, Mexico and Ethiopia, acrobats from Senegal, Croatia and Kenya, as well as flag twirlers from Italy.
The Croats were wonderful in their costumes, but more importantly, showed a knowledge of circuit performance and stilt dancing. France was also represented by a colourful dance troupe while Lithuania stole the show at a point, with two fire performers wowing the audience with their fearless display with flames and fireworks. Numerous African countries were represented through ensembles who brought a lot of traditional dances under the lights of the stadium to entertain as well as educate on each country’s history.
The Ethiopian troupe explored the country’s dance history, with the upper body being the most used. Tanzania, Kenya and Swaziland and South Africa, with two different sets of performers, performed. The South Africans displayed energetic Zulu war dances.
The Ghanaians were especially engaging, with a combination of female dancers and drummers, and male acrobats and magicians. The team from the US were supported by representation from neighbouring Caribbean nations like Belize, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis and others.
The affinity between Calabar and Brazil was again on display as a masterfully costumed Brazilian band kept the audience on the edge of their seats with a combination of music, dance and acting. Despite the fact that Brazil’s representation came from the city of Rio de Janeiro, they still kept the audience engrossed and ended up winners of the competition with 790 points. This partially due to a brilliant enactment of Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines dance, acrobatics and music, developed mainly by African slaves in the 16th century. South Africa were second with 757 points while Ghana came third with 742.