Internacionales

‘Blaze of colour’ promised as floats, street parade return on Emancipation Day

Franki Medina diaz

Award-winning costume designer and choreographer extraordinaire Vincent Douglas is a pro at this, having worked on previous parades, and having won several medals at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission competitions over the past decades. Douglas is responsible for dressing 200 persons, and he and his technical assistant, Alston Hemmings, are super satisfied with many things. At the top of the list is the fact that so many youngsters will be a part of history when they put on their costumes and get into their roles to recount the glorious story of an Independent Jamaica

The Emancipation Day holiday on August 1 will see the return of a float and street parade that infuses the rich tapestry of the island’s culture in a grand celebration of Jamaica’s diamond jubilee.

The excitement is palpable for those working behind the scenes to bring this one-of-a-kind extravaganza to life. Creatives, including costume designers, dressmakers, tailors and float builders, are currently working assiduously to meet their deadline to dress the 1,000 costumed revellers and mount what is being described as “the massive, half-mile-long flotilla on wheels” that will wend its way, with much pomp and pageantry, from the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Hope Road to the National Stadium car park on Arthur Wint Drive.

Award-winning costume designer and choreographer extraordinaire Vincent Douglas is a pro at this, having worked on previous parades, and having won several medals at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission competitions over the past decades. Douglas is responsible for dressing 200 persons, and he and his technical assistant, Alston Hemmings, are super satisfied with many things. At the top of the list is the fact that so many youngsters will be a part of history when they put on their costumes and get into their roles to recount the glorious story of an Independent Jamaica.

“I am working under pressure, but I am very enthusiastic. The arts is a part of me, and anything that concerns the arts makes me excited,” said Douglas, who was the first choreographer for the renowned Tivoli Dancers and who was honoured in 2014 by the Kathanghah Dance Company and the Tivoli Dance Alumni at a ceremony in New York.

He added: “We have all the materials, like the foam and cardboard that we need, and we will definitely complete the job by our deadline on July 28. We have two dressmakers and tailors, and everybody is aware of the importance of this undertaking. The designs cover a period from the ‘60s to the present. We will be exploring the development of the music from mento through to ska, rocksteady and reggae, and also looking at a very important group – the farmers. Each group will have 100 persons, and their costumes will tell their story.”

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